Learn about property boundaries including road allowances and rights-of-way.
Not all the land around your home may be owned by you.
For many properties, the road fronting the property extends further into the yard than owners may be aware. This area is owned by the City and referred to as road allowance.
Also referred to as ‘boulevard’, City road allowance is dedicated road area that is set aside for the City to make future road improvements to serve the growing transportation needs of Surrey residents. Improvements include:
- expanding sidewalks
- adding bike lanes
- widening the road for additional vehicle lanes
Road allowance is also used for installing City or third party utilities such as water pipes, gas lines, or electric wires.
Some privately-owned properties may be encumbered by a City right-of-way. A City right-of-way allows the City the right to access a specified area of private property for City purposes. The City generally uses rights-of-way for maintaining and repairing water and sewer pipes that run under a portion of private property.
An encroachment is an unauthorized intrusion onto a neighboring property, road or right-of-way through the creation or extension of a physical structure such as:
- building a fence or retaining wall
- planting hedges or trees
- paving to extend driveway and parking
When making improvements to your home, know where your property ends and where the City road allowance or any rights-of-way begin to avoid encroachment on to City property.
Consequences of Encroachment
The City can require property owners to remove an encroachment at any time, at the property owner’s expense. Encroachments must be removed immediately when:
- they are causing a safety risk
- they are interfering with utilities or traffic
- the land is required for a City project
Check your Property Line
If you’re unsure where your property line boundary is, you can get a general idea by looking it up on COSMOS, the City's mapping tool. To be completely certain, contact a survey company.