Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_safefnrecode::register(Doku_Event_Handler &$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/safefnrecode/action.php on line 14

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_blog::register(&$contr) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/blog/action.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_blockquote::register(&$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/blockquote/action.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_include::register(&$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/include/action.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_popularity::register(&$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/popularity/action.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_redirect::register(&$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/redirect/action.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of action_plugin_captcha::register(&$controller) should be compatible with DokuWiki_Action_Plugin::register($controller) in /home/public/dw/lib/plugins/captcha/action.php on line 0

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656
When the dirt moves, the property lines may not [ClearOnMoney]
Top

Site

About
Contact

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656
Sitemap

Profile

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656
Trace:
When the dirt moves, the property lines may not

Reference

Main
Updates
Schedule

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656

Warning: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/public/dw/inc/auth.php on line 656
Commentary

When the dirt moves, the property lines may not

19 Mar 2011 by Jim Fickett.

If you own land that moves in an earthquake, what happens to the plot lines? The general principle in the US seems to be that if the land moves, the map doesn't, and your house may now be on someone else's property.

I was downtown at the county recorder's office a while back, looking at the legal definitions of plots of land, and it occurred to me that the definitions assume the land does not move. The plot I was looking had one corner defined relative to the streets, and the other three corners defined relative to the first. To take an extreme example of a question that could arise, what if the east half of your plot moves 10 feet north? Do you now own something that is no longer rectangle shaped, and the city has to redo its records? Or do you still own a rectangle, but your garden or your house is now on your neighbor's land?

I was reminded of this question by recent events in Japan where, according to Reuters, the

Oshika peninsula in Miyagi prefecture shifted a whole 5.3 metres (17 ft) east and its land sank 1.2 metres (4 ft).

(And the accompanying pictures show people wading through streets that are now underwater.)

The San Francisco Chronicle suggests that, at least for creeping landslides, property lines don't move even when the land does:

The land under Robert Mathews' house in the Berkeley hills has slid about 20 feet since the structure was built in 1916. But property lines do not move, which means that today half of his house seems to sit on his neighbor's land.

“I figure the property line runs right through the middle of the front doorway,'' he said. …

When a home, or a driveway or a deck, slips onto a neighbor's land, does it become the neighbor's property?

Public officials in the East Bay have tried to stay out of the disputes, some of which have landed in court, but experts say they are likely to face increasing pressure to decide whether property lines should be redrawn when the stuff inside them moves. …

But Mathews learned recently of two bitter property-line disputes just blocks away that city records show are in a landslide hazard area. In one case, an arbitrator ruled that although the land had moved, a survey determined ownership – and thus a couple of feet of disputed earth belonged to the downhill neighbor.

C. Albert White, a surveyor with the Bureau of Land Management, suggests that the same principle holds more generally. However it seems the legal system has never dealt with the problem systematically. Alaska and California both passed laws to allow redrawing of property lines after specific earthquakes. But these laws have been applied in an inconsistent manner. For example:

Discussion with the City of Hayward, California, revealed that no surveys are on record there showing an actual determination of property boundaries bisected by the fault line. The fault line is well mapped and jogs exist in streets, curbs, etc., but no firm stance appears to have been taken about property boundaries. That issue has not been adjudicated.

In 1991, Tracie Linn Mesloh (Hennon) prepared a thesis titled “Effects of Earthquakes on Property Boundaries” as a partial fulfillment for her Masters of Science in Engineering degree from California State University at Fresno. Mesloh graciously supplied me with a copy of her thesis which discusses the effects of the Sylmar earthquake and the replatting of one block of land within the affected area. Mesloh points out that the changes in survey lines were not consistent or proratable within even the one city block.

Moral of the story: check into local precedents and know your risk before buying property in an area where the dirt might move!