Where Does My Property End: The Sidewalk or the Curb?

Where Does My Property End: The Sidewalk or the Curb?

October 29, 2021

What decides where your property line ends? Many homeowners and business owners wonder just how large their property actually is. Depending on where you live and how property lines are defined there, the answer may vary.

There are many different property line definitions that can affect where your property ends. This can affect where you can build on your property and who is responsible for maintaining portions of the property.

The best way to find out the exact dimensions and property lines is to hire a land surveyor. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the different property line definitions.

Definitions of property lines

In some places, the property line may extend all the way out past the sidewalk to the curb. This means that public sidewalks are technically on your property, which can cause issues when it comes to public use. Imagine being the only house on the street that fences off your portion of the sidewalk and forces other people to walk in the street to get around! That’s not ideal, so many municipalities will do what they can to avoid this problem.

In other areas, your property line might extend all the way into the middle of the street. Again, this presents a major public use problem if someone decides to get technical about property definitions.

Most commonly, public roads are defined as being larger than the curb-to-curb distance, which means that the “road” could technically extend into your front yard. This makes it easier for municipalities to access the road, sidewalks, utilities and trees or shrubs on public property (and provides less opportunity for tetchy property owners to cause additional hassles!); however, even if the city or county owns part of your yard, homeowners are generally still responsible for maintaining their trees, shrubs and walkways. Be sure you know who’s responsible for these items.

Finding your property line

If you want to find where your property ends and where public land begins, you can visit your city or county’s auditor website. They often have maps or satellite images delineating exactly where they consider your property line to be. It should also tell you if you have a setback or public usage easements.

You can also try to find your property line yourself with a metal detector. If you can locate your survey pin, you’ll be able to find out where your property line is (with reasonable accuracy).

Of course, the best way to find your property line is to hire a land surveyor—especially if you plan to sell your home anytime soon. Buyers will want to know exactly how much land they’re getting, where they can and cannot build and who’s responsible for maintaining each part of the property. Surveyors are also important if a neighbor contests your property line. The last thing you want is to find out that you just built a shed 5 feet into the neighbor’s yard.

When you need quality land surveying services, Bettersworth & Associates, Inc. can help. Call us today to learn more about our services.

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