The following guidance is provided to assist cadastral surveyors working in greater Christchurch when dealing with boundary conflicts arising from approved interim surveys.

Boundary conflicts in greater Christchurch

The Canterbury Property Boundaries & Related Matters Act 2016 (the Act) provides a high level of certainty for surveying property boundaries in greater Christchurch. Section 8 of the Act deems boundaries to have moved or to move with the movement of land caused by the Canterbury earthquakes (the ‘boundaries moved’ principle).

All surveys within greater Christchurch approved by LINZ in the period starting on 4 September 2010 and ending at the commencement of the Act on 30 August 2016 are approved interim surveys.

The Act recognises that some approved interim surveys did not use the ‘boundaries moved’ principle to define existing boundaries and could therefore result in a boundary conflict.

A boundary conflict exists where a boundary determined by an approved interim survey differs from the boundary’s position based on the ‘boundaries moved’ principle.

The difference between these boundary positions must exceed the applicable accuracy standards under the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 (the Rules) to be a conflict in terms of the Rules.

Title and non-title boundary conflicts

Boundary conflicts have been categorised by LINZ as either title conflicts or non-title conflicts.

A title conflict is where an approved interim survey did not define boundaries in terms of earthquake movement, resulting in a boundary conflict, and a new record of title has issued in terms of that survey.

A non-title conflict is where an approved interim survey has resulted in a boundary conflict, but no new records of title have issued in terms of that survey, for example:

  • a SO Boundary Marking CSD; or
  • a LT Subdivision CSD that has not deposited.

Resolving boundary conflicts

The Act does not specify how a boundary conflict may be resolved. It is the responsibility of the affected landowners and their professional advisors to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties.

The approach taken to resolving a boundary conflict by the parties involved will depend on several factors including:

  • the type of conflict (ie title or non-title)
  • priorities of the affected landowners and their willingness to resolve the boundary conflict
  • the nature and extent of the survey or development being undertaken
  • the nature and extent of any structural encroachments (eg buildings, decks, fences).

Therefore, a boundary conflict may have several possible solutions. LINZ will assist with resolving boundary conflicts as they arise on a case-by-case basis by providing information and expert advice to affected landowners and their agents. We will also work collaboratively with surveyors and lawyers to provide advice on survey and title aspects of the boundary conflict and options for resolving it.

The Landonline e-request type ‘Survey_Earthquake Complex’ is available for queries relating to earthquake-affected boundary surveys, including boundary conflicts.

Alterations to titles to resolve title conflicts and compensation

Section 9(3) of the Act provides for a title conflict to be resolved by treating it as if it was an error or unlawful alteration to the register. This means that the RGL’s powers of alteration under section 21 Land Transfer Act 2017 and the provisions for compensation of loss under sections 58 and 59 of that Act can be applied in a title conflict situation. These provisions do not apply to a non-title conflict.

Refer to Compensation for information about the process for claiming compensation.

Subdivision consent not required in some circumstances

As provided in section 10 of the Act, a boundary adjustment that removes a boundary conflict by adjusting the boundary to reflect the land movement caused by the Canterbury earthquakes is not a subdivision of land under the Resource Management Act 1991.

However, landowners may decide to resolve a boundary conflict by adjusting the affected boundary to a position that is different from where the earthquakes moved it to. In these cases, subdivision consent is likely to be required.

In some cases, a subdivision consent may have been granted before a boundary conflict affecting the property has been identified. Surveyors should check with the territorial authority if any changes to the subdivision as a result of the boundary conflict will require variation of the consent.

Recommended process for dealing with a boundary conflict

The following flowchart outlines a recommended process for dealing with a boundary conflict:

Flowchart: Recommended process for dealing with a boundary conflict (PDF 125KB)

Examples of surveys to resolve boundary conflicts

Some examples of surveys carried out to resolve boundary conflicts are provided below, along with a case study of one of those surveys:

  • DP 509214 – subdivision adjoining approved interim survey with title conflict (see case study (PDF 410KB))
  • SO 507645 – legalisation adjoining approved interim survey with title conflict
  • LT 502578 – resurvey of approved interim survey with non-title conflict
  • SO 503489 – boundary redefinition adjoining approved interim survey with non-title conflict
Last Updated: 12 March 2020