Good Fences Don't Always Make Good Neighbours

—Boundary Disputes Between Neighbours Can Quickly Sour What Most Canadians Regard as Helpful and Trusted Relationships—


July 1, 2008, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO

Despite the fact that six out of 10 Canadian homeowners consider their neighbours to be good friends, one in 10 can expect to have a property line or boundary dispute, according to a new national survey measuring Canadian attitudes toward their neighbours.

The survey, which was conducted in May by First Canadian Title, Canada’s leading title insurer, also found that while 60 per cent of respondents say they were able to resolve issues through good old-fashioned communication, 17 per cent say they have issues that remain unsettled.   

“The adage that good fences make good neighbours is not true for everyone,” said Susan Leslie, vice president of legal claims and underwriting for First Canadian Title. “In fact, land survey issues represented almost 10 per cent of the claims we paid in 2007. This happens because boundaries tend to blur over time.”

In some cases, neighbours can find themselves encroaching on each other’s properties and restoring property lines can mean that building extensions or sheds may need to be moved. The onus is on the owner of the encroaching structure to cover the costs associated with restoring the property lines as they are set out on the title.

The survey also asked Canadians about the measures they take to protect their homes. While 96 per cent of respondents indicated they have homeowners insurance and 43 per cent have a home security system, only 46 per cent reported having title insurance, which protects homeowners against losses from issues like property line encroachments, work orders and title defects not uncovered in a title search prior to purchase.

The survey also found that 70 per cent of Canadian homeowners surveyed regularly help neighbours with chores, repairs and emergencies, and a full 83 per cent trust their neighbours to watch over their home while they are away. Thirty-five per cent of respondents say they host each other frequently.

“For most of us, our home is our greatest asset,” said Leslie. “And when you buy a home,

you are also acquiring neighbours who will play a very important role in your daily life.”

First Canadian Title reported an increase in overall claims paid in 2007 over the previous year. The largest category, represented municipal permit-related issues where an improvement was added by a prior owner without the necessary permit, followed by payments for municipal non-permit issues such as outstanding taxes and work orders.

The First Canadian Title Neighbours survey was conducted in May 2008 by Research House for First Canadian Title using a national random sample of 1,133 homeowners. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/-2.91 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

 OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Maritimers and Quebeckers are friendliest with their neighbours: 76 per cent of Atlantic Canadians and 72 per cent of Quebeckers consider their neighbours good friends, compared with 53 per cent in Alberta and 61 per cent nationally.
  • Quebec and Manitoba/Saskatchewan had the highest incidence of property-related issues such as boundary disputes: 16 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, versus the national average of nine per cent.Only six per cent of 30-49 year olds had property-related disputes, versus 12 per cent of 18-29 year olds and 11 per cent of those 50 years old or older. Despite their friendliness, Maritimers and Quebeckers have the highest incidence of unsettled disputes with neighbours: 38 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 21 per cent in Quebec, versus 17 per cent nationally. Seniors are the friendliest neighbours: 69 per cent of Canadians aged 50 or older report being good friends with their neighbours versus only 50 per cent of Canadians aged 18-29.  Men are friendlier with their neighbours than women: 69 per cent of men are good friends with neighbours versus 55 per cent of women. 

 

About First Canadian Title

First Canadian Title is Canada’s leading provider of title insurance and other related products and services for residential and commercial real estate transactions. Founded in 1991 and based in Oakville, Ontario, First Canadian Title employs approximately 1,000 people from coast to coast. Its customers include more than 15,000 lawyers and notaries nationwide, every major Canadian chartered bank, credit unions, other lending institutions, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and builders. First Canadian Title is the registered business name of FCT Insurance Company Ltd. and of the Canadian branch of First American Title Insurance Company. For more information about First Canadian Title, please visit www.FirstCanadianTitle.com or www.ProtectYourTitle.com.


About First American

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889. With revenues of approximately $8.2 billion in 2007, it is America’s largest provider of business information. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Information and Outsourcing Solutions, Data and Analytic Solutions, and Risk Mitigation and Business Solutions. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.

 

SURVEY RESULTS BY REGION

 

1.  ON AVERAGE, HOW OFTEN DO YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS? 

Response

National

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

Daily

26%

39%

19%

28%

23%

23%

25%

Once per week

18%

13%

24%

16%

18%

20%

18%

Two to four times per week

29%

25%

36%

34%

30%

24%

29%

Once every two weeks

8%

5%

9%

8%

10%

4%

11%

Less than once per month

17%

16%

21%

14%

18%

28%

15%

Refused – N/A

2%

2%

-

1%

1%

-

1%

 

 

2.  HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO YOUR NEIGHBOURS?

Response

National

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

We are good friends

61%

76%

72%

62%

57%

53%

59%

We host each other

35%

48%

21%

38%

42%

37%

32%

We help each other out with chores, repairs, emergencies

71%

76%

57%

79%

74%

74%

64%

None of the above

17%

13%

21%

13%

19%

19%

20%

 

 

3.  HAVE YOU EVER HAD A DISPUTE WITH A NEIGHBOUR OVER THE FOLLOWING?  

Response

National

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

Parking

6%

2%

9%

2%

10%

10%

8%

Noise

10%

7%

9%

9%

6%

11%

20%

Property-related issues like property lines, or fencing

9%

4%

16%

8%

15%

5%

8%

Pets

10%

7%

10%

8%

17%

9%

15%

 

 

4.  IF YOU HAVE HAD A PROPERTY-RELATED DISPUTE, HOW DID YOU SETTLE IT? 

Response

National

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

Communication 

59%

42%

49%

67%

79%

48%

61%

Personal financial settlement  

3%

20%

3%

5%

2%

-

-

Has not been settled

17%

38%

21%

16%

1%

32%

9%

N/A - Refused

4%

-

7%

-

1%

9%

7%

None of the above

16%

-

21%

11%

17%

10%

23%

 

 

5.  WHAT MEASURES DO YOU TAKE TO PROTECT YOUR HOME?

                Response

National

ATL

QC

ON

MB/SK

AB

BC

I have a home security system

43%

28%

54%

44%

38%

40%

40%

I have home insurance

97%

92%

97%

98%

96%

96%

97%

I have title insurance

46%

46%

37%

47%

54%

49%

49%

I trust my neighbour to watch over my house while I am away

83%

87%

84%

84%

83%

72%

82%

 

 

 

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