The doctrine of agreed limits is an exception to this general rule. The doctrine provides that if two neighboring owners, who are not sure of the actual position of the common boundary between the parcels, agree with the actual position of the common boundary, mark or build it on the ground, and occupy each side for a period equal to the statute of limitations, then that line becomes the boundary. An agreed limit may also be set if a party relies on the agreement and a change would result in that significant loss. California law recognizes the right of two adjacent landowners to agree on a specific line or marker that acts as property boundaries between the two parcels, regardless of the legal description in the deed of ownership of each property. This right is known as the “agreed boundary doctrine”. To determine whether the doctrine of agreed boundaries applies, a landowner must demonstrate an agreement between the two adjacent owners and uncertainty as to where the true demarcation line is located. In Martin v. Van Bergen, the Martins owned a vineyard next to Van Bergen`s almond garden in Paso Robles, California. A fence ran between them, but it was laid and entered Martin`s property.
Van Bergan`s orchard was planted up to the erected fence and thus entered the Martins` property. Martin filed a lawsuit to reassure the title. The accused Van Bergen invoked the agreed border doctrine in his defence. This case is consistent with many previous decisions and reaffirms the difficulty that an invading neighbor will have in trying to preserve interference and overcome the assumptions of the agreed border doctrine. Surveying data, especially if the surveyor relies on solid boundary indicators mentioned in the government`s initial land allocations or plateaus, even if they are very old, are considered important and robust in resolving modern border disputes. The doctrine of the boundary by agreement requires that (1) there be uncertainty as to the true demarcation line, (2) an agreement between the specified co-owners that determines the line, and (3) the acceptance and tolerance of the line, thus established for a period equal to the limitation period, or in such circumstances that a significant loss would be caused by a change in its position. Ernie v. Trinity Lutheran Church (1959) 51 Ca.2d 702, 707; Bryant vs. Blevins (1994) 9 Cal.4th 47. While the Martin Court did not question the validity of the doctrine, it emphasized that it should not be applied if there is no evidence that neighbouring landowners have entered into an agreement that dissolves a boundary where the boundary can be determined from an act or other legal document. Mere evidence of tolerating the existence of closure without further evidence of an agreement does not set an agreed limit.
The court noted that while neighbors have long agreed with the location of the fence (and likely the border), “Bryant makes it clear that such consent is not enough to prove an agreed limit. There must be evidence of a real agreement. Without a real agreement, there is no “agreed border.” Finally, the defendants did not provide a basis for reversing the trial court`s conclusion that they would not suffer a significant loss if they moved the fence to the real border. If you have any questions about a property boundary dispute or legal issues related to real estate in general, please contact Peter Brewer`s law firm at (650) 327-2900 or online at www.brewerfirm.com. Real Estate Law – From Scratch When a border dispute comes to light, it is wise for a concerned owner to consult an experienced real estate lawyer who has already handled border disputes. In California, the law that comes into play in a border dispute is extremely complex and included in both state laws and state jurisdiction (judicial or customary law). It is interesting to note that a duly registered and publicly available document outlining the boundaries does not necessarily refute a claim under this doctrine. Given that the crucial issue is the intention of the parties to create a boundary to compensate for their subjective uncertainty as to the true line, the weight of the authority found it irrelevant that the true line could have been established by an appropriate investigation. It is not necessary that the actual location is absolutely undetectable. The California Supreme Court upheld this long-standing rule when it explicitly refused to “limit the application of the agreed border doctrine to cases where existing legal acts are not sufficient to resolve a border dispute.” The Court stated that “such a rigid rule would carry the risk of destabilizing long-standing agreements – entered into in good faith by contiguous landowners to eliminate uncertainty about the location of their common boundaries – that may differ from legal descriptions of ownership or survey results for one of the following reasons.” If possible, it is probably preferable to resolve a border dispute through negotiations between adjacent owners rather than going to court for a judge to rule on it. At least with a negotiated agreement, each party has some influence on the outcome and court costs are likely to be much lower. Although the deal must be approved by the court as part of a silent title action, a lengthy process would be unnecessary.
In Bryant v. Blevins (1994) 9 Cal.4th 47 (“Bryant”), the California Supreme Court considered a landowner`s claim to ownership of a strip of land that fell to the side of a fence. The landowner claimed that the fence was built by agreement between the previous owners, and the previous owners were unsure of the true demarcation line. The California Supreme Court dismissed the landowner`s lawsuit because there was insufficient evidence in the records that previous owners were unsure of the true dividing line between the plots. California`s Border Disputes Act prescribes the types of evidence to be considered in determining a true line of ownership and the relative strength of different types of evidence. The owner`s lawyer can give his opinion on this evidence and, if necessary, will conduct and collect other investigations, including conducting research on historical titles and surveying and commissioning new professional investigations. It`s a dispute as old as the hills: where is this boring dividing line between two real estates? Resolving disputes at the California border can be surprisingly challenging and involve complex legal rules and concepts. California courts have repeatedly rejected the agreed border doctrine because a border is not uncertain whether it can be determined by investigation. Courts tend to respect “the sanctity of true and accurate legal descriptions.” Usually, these disputes concern theories of unfavourable possession or prescriptive servitude.
However, another theory that often controls the outcome is the “doctrine of agreed limits.” Theoretically, many disputes over demarcation lines are quite easy to resolve. The parties to a dispute may have an investigation carried out on the basis of the description of the deed to mark the actual boundary of the property. However, the doctrine of agreed limits is an exception to this rule. Under California law, owners of two adjacent properties can agree on a marker or d. B a line, such as a fence or a stone line on the ground, to serve as a boundary between plots. Limitation period: If the agreement has been in existence for at least five years or if the holder of the title can prove that he is relying on this agreement in such a way that a change of position would cause a significant loss, this agreement replaces the legal description in the deeds of the properties. In a 1994 case, Bryant v. Blevins, the California Supreme Court, further noted that while the legal descriptions in the deeds are not uncertain and may clarify the actual boundary, the doctrine of the agreed boundary still applies in the case of an established and long-standing agreement, so the agreed boundary will always replace the legal descriptions. However, a fence alone does not create a dividing line. .