Knowing the exact boundaries of your property may not seem important, but there are several reasons why we recommend that you learn about your property lines sooner rather than later. At LAM Tree Service, we oftentimes run into situations where knowing what trees are on your property and which officially belong to your neighbors is extremely important.
In this article, we answer some of your most common questions regarding property lines.
What is a property line?
A property line is the area determined during construction to determine ownership of a plot. It may be created by the developer, the city, county, or the state. A surveyor determines and marks the boundaries of a property and marks them on a survey.
What we refer to as a front yard is called “frontage.”
The side yards are called “sidelines.”
The amount of space between the edge of a property and any building is often determined by zoning laws.
Why should I know my property or lot lines?
Knowing the boundaries of your property can help in many areas, but the most common reason is so you know what sections of your yard are yours and which belong to neighboring properties.
This can help when something on the property, such as a tree or plant, needs to be maintained or removed. It’s also necessary to know your official property lines if and when you plan to build a structure, put in a driveway, add fencing, or make any other changes.
If you build or plant something on an area that turns out to be someone else’s property, you could be responsible for moving it and for repairing any damage that occurs.
One more reason to know your property lines is to get an accurate assessment of how much property you have to determine how much it is worth. This becomes even more important when you decide to sell.
How can I find the boundaries of my property?
There are several methods for finding your property lines.
- Check on the Jefferson County Map. This interactive map shows city and county boundaries, zoning planned development, political boundaries, and more. Simply choose the relevant boxes to check on the right of the map.
- Contact the Planning and Zoning Division of Jefferson County.
- Read your property deed, a tax description that explains the boundaries of your property. If you don’t have a copy, you can find one online or from the county recorder’s office.
- Use an app to check boundaries.
LandGlide can check parcel data and property line maps.
Regrid allows you to view parcel maps around you and see information on boundaries, address, ownership, and more.
Some hunting apps show property lines to prevent hunters from accessing private property.
- Ask for a property survey from your mortgage company or title company. Most lenders require a property survey, so they should be able to provide a copy of it for you.
- Check your property line map, also called a plat, which contains the dimensions of your property. You can get one from the county clerk’s office, or ask your neighbors if they have theirs.
- Look for survey pins or property line markers. A survey pin is a thin iron bar in the ground, but it may have been moved or removed. A property line marker can be made of wood, metal, or concrete and are used during construction. If your home was recently built, you may still have a marker.
- Hire a surveyor. This is not an inexpensive option, but may be best if you don’t have any of the documentation listed above or if the property lines or reference points have changed. Make sure the surveyor is licensed for the area.
Why does LAM Tree need to know my property lines?
There are several instances in which LAM Tree Service may need to know your property lines. We have to ensure that any work we’re doing, whether tree removal, pruning, fire mitigation, or anything else, is rightfully on your property.
Once we have verified that you are the owner of the land in which the tree or shrub being treated or removed is located, we can schedule our work.
Why might an insurance company want to know my property lines?
Insurance companies often require information on property lines as part of the fire mitigation process. An insurance company may also need to know where your property begins or ends if a tree fell and caused damage.
What happens when a tree borders multiple properties?
The person responsible for a tree is usually the person whose property has the tree’s trunk. However, part of being a good neighbor is ensuring that tree branches and roots aren’t causing any issues or damage to your neighbor’s property.
Why do insurance companies want to know the distance of a tree from a building, rather than lot lines?
Many insurance companies want to know how far away trees, shrubs, and other plants are from a building to determine how fire-wise the property is. The closer the shrubs and trees, the higher the likelihood that fire can jump from them to a building. The trees and shrubs don’t necessarily have to be on your property, however, which is one of the reasons that fire mitigation can be difficult.
What are corner pins?
Corner pins are survey pins that are often placed in the corner of a property. They are made of metal and may have been moved or could have sunk into the soil. Sometimes they are only found via metal detector. Some may have a plastic cap on the top.
Is a fence, driveway, structure, or edge of lawn a demarcation of property lines?
No. One should not assume that anything added to a property is indication of the property borders. Refer to official documentation such as the items listed above to determine your legal property perimeter.
We hope that these frequently asked questions have helped you understand the importance of knowing your property’s borders. You may need official documentation the next time you want to implement some fire mitigation practices, take down a tree, erect a fence or a deck, or ensure that you are being a good neighbor.
Contact LAM Tree if you want more information on our fire mitigation services.