Understanding Title Plans

Title Plan b

Title plans are quite a bit different to Survey Plans.

The above is typically what you would see when looking at the title plan for a small subdivision.

This is what it tells you about block No 2, which I have coloured in pink.

  • The total width of the Road Reserve of Smith Court including nature strips and future footpaths is 20m.
  • The *survey grid bearing for Smith Court at the front of the block, is 2 degrees 0 minutes and 15 seconds (200’ 15”) almost due North.
  • The width on the road frontage is 18.00m.
  • The top boundary runs at a bearing of 92 degrees 0 minutes and 15 seconds (9200’ 15”) which is almost due East for a distance of 38.00m (the depth of the block is therefore 38m)
  • The rear boundary runs at a bearing of 182 degrees 0 minutes and 15 seconds (18200’ 15”) which is almost due South for a distance of 18.00m. so the width at the rear of the block is also 18m.
  • The bottom boundary runs at a bearing of 272 degrees 0 minutes and 15 seconds (27200’ 15”) which is almost due West for a distance of 38.00m (the depth of the block is therefore consistent at 38.00m)
  • There is a 2m wide Easement at the rear of the Block Labelled E-I. This means it will be VERY difficult to build on this part of your Block.

Within the title documents you will find a reference to each easement on the subdivision saying what the easement is for.

Generally you will be lucky if there are no easements as over 50% of blocks will have at least one easement

Each corner of the site should be marked with a Boundary Peg which needs to be protected from damage.

*ASurvey Grid Bearing’ is a fixed direction unlike a bearing from Magnetic North which can change over time.


For similar posts see Block Dimensions

To find out about Easements see Restrictions

How Adverse Possession Can Affect Buying A Block

Did  you know its still possible to take over ownership of someone else’s private land?

This makes it important to check the Land Title Plan dimensions against the actual site dimensions of your new house block for the following reasons:

  • If the actual dimensions are bigger it doesn’t mean the seller owns the ‘extra’ land unless they can demonstrate adverse possession.
  • If the land is smaller a neighbour may have ‘acquired’  ownership by adverse possession.

Either way you could be in for a considerable amount of legal costs to get the ownership of the land sorted out.

Adverse Possession

Adverse Possession is when someone becomes the owner of land through continued exclusive use of that land.

Limitation Period

Before land can be obtained by adverse possession there has to be continued use use of the land for an extended period. That period is different for the various states as follows:

  • Victoria, 15 years
  • South Australia, 15 years
  • New South Wales, 12 years
  • Western Australia, 12 years
  • Tasmania, 12 years
  • Queensland, 12 years

Crown (Government) Land

With the exception of New South Wales and Tasmania you cannot claim Crown Land. In those two states a longer (30 year) limitation period applies.

The reasons are that it is harder for a government to keep an eye on its lands, and it is assumed that the government hold possessions for the public good, despite any apparent neglect.

How Adverse Possession Claims Work

Adverse possession means not mere occupation but also actual physical possession in an open and peaceful manner, without consent of the original owner.

Any form of permission ( a licence, a lease, or an agreement to use the land), and the claim of adverse possession will fail because it will be clear that the owner gave consent for use with no intention to pass over ownership.

Proof to the Titles Office in your State that the land has been  occupied for the entire period of time is required.  

Evidence will be, that as a minimum, at least one of the following has occurred for the whole of the limitation period :

  • A secure fence has been in place without challenge ;
  • ‘Keep Out, Private Land’ signs have been erected without challenge;
  • Payment of rates and taxes.

The information in this post is of a general nature and you should not try to deal with adverse possession issues without involving a lawyer.


For more Information why not look at: anewhouse Guide to Buying a Block