T Marks on a Title Plan
Published: 15-06-2018 | Updated: 04-09-2018
T marks on a Title Plan usually, but not always, denote ownership of the boundary by the land owner whose land the bars of the Ts fall. H Marks (2 tees transposed from opposite directions) denote joint ownership. The question of ownership, or responsibility to maintain a boundary, is often crucial, but is not always clearly defined. The most obvious clue is the presence of T marks. This article shows you were to look to find documents containing them, and what to do if there are none on the documents you have.
Title Plans and Deed Plans
The presence of T or H marks on a Title Plan are the exception rather than the rule, and are only shown if the T or H marks are expressly referred to in the Deeds when lodged with the Land Registry for registration of Title. They are normally thought to be present on a Title Plan because there is often a reference to a Deed in the Title Register, part of which is usually quoted, and which contains text referring to T marks. Such a reference is usually to a Plan attached to the Deed in question, rather than a reference to the Title Plan. Title Plans and Deeds Plans are different creatures. Deed Plans are attached to Deeds, not to registered documents such as the Title Register or Title Plan. Most likely a copy of the Deed referred to in the Title Register will have been retained digitally by the Land Registry, together with the Deed Plan that is normally part of the Deed. This is confirmed by the presence of a Note at the foot of the paragraph to the effect that a copy has been made.
Where such a note exists a copy of the Deed and Deed Plan can be obtained using a Conveyancing Deeds Search.
Lanfear v Chandler 2013
A recent decision of the Court of Appeal has confirmed that T marks do not always denote ownership of a boundary, as was commonly thought. In this case a distinction was made between ownership of the boundary fence and maintenance of it. The documentary evidence certainly showed the presence of T marks on a Conveyancing Deed but evidence was given by the builder that he had built the fence on the neighbour's land, i.e. on the neighbour's side of concrete edging stones that he had lain. The court decided that his intention was to place responsibility for maintenance of the fence on the land denoted by the T mark, but not ownership.
The importance of this decision was not only in regard to responsibility for maintenance of the fence, but also in regard to ownership of a sliver of land along the border. A car port with supports resting on the thin sliver of land had been erected by Mrs Chandler, who would have to remove it if the land did not belong to her. The original court and the Court of Appeal each decided that the land belonged to the Lanfear family and that this would have been obvious from an examination of the fence, at least when the property was first sold.
It would seem from this case that regard should be had, not just to the documentation, but also to the position of the boundary structure. Often the wording in the documentation will clearly draw a distinction, if there is one, between ownership and maintenance responsibilities.
Documents that contain T Marks
The most common example of a document containing T marks is a Deed Plan. As previously stated Deed Plans are attached to the Deed that created it. Often such a Deed is copied by the Land Registry and retained digitally, so that the Deed and Plan can be purchased.
Where there is no Deed or Deed Plan it may be possible to obtain an Epitome of Title (bundle of pre-registration documents forming the root of title) from the solicitors initially dealing with the purchase. This may contain a copy of the Deed and Deed Plan. It there is none there may be an Abstract (summary) of Title, a long and usually abbreviated pre-registration document establishing the root of title, and this may contain details of any T or H marks attaching to any Deed Plan.
Subsequent Conveyances and Transfers may contain copies or amended copies of the Deed Plan. If either of the properties is Leasehold there will also be a Lease Plan. The Lease and Lease Plan are often more thorough than Deeds and Deed Plans and these should certainly be looked at. Lease Plans are usually attached to the Lease, so obtaining the Lease should also include the Lease Plan. These documents are included with our Boundary Search.
No Reference to T Marks in Deed
It is not sufficient for T Marks to be shown on a Deed Plan if they are not also referred to in the Deed itself to which it is attached. The Land Registry regard them of no special importance and decisions of the High Courts confirm the same, e.g. in the recent case of Avon Estates v Evans 2013 there was no reference in the Conveyance itself to the T marks that appeared in the attached Deed Plan. The plan contained them but the plan was intended for identification purposes only, and not in relation to ownership or maintenance of boundaries.
Our Boundary Search not only provides all the relevant documentation, but also provides details of common law boundary presumptions, which includes presumptions made with regard to boundary structures such as fences, walls, hedges, ditches and rivers.
More on Boundary matters.