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What is required to establish a boundary by estoppel in Utah?

Ordinarily, real property boundaries are established by the property description contained in the deed used to convey ownership of the property. Under certain circumstances, Utah law allows the doctrine of equitable estoppel to change the location of property lines involved in a boundary dispute. If you are involved in a boundary dispute, a Utah real estate attorney can protect your rights and help you effectively resolve in a timely and cost-effective manner.

In general, Utah courts may apply the doctrine of equitable estoppel when the following elements are established: 1) "an admission, statement, or act inconsistent with the claim afterward asserted;" 2) "action by the other party on the faith of such admission, statement, or act;" and 3) "injury to such other party resulting from allowing the first party to contradict or repudiate such admission, statement, or act." Bahr v. Imus, 2011 UT 19 (citation omitted). The doctrine of equitable estoppel has been applied by Utah courts to boundary disputes between neighboring landowners.

To establish a property boundary under the doctrine of equitable estoppel, a property owner must first demonstrate that an adjacent landowner has made an affirmative statement regarding the location of a shared boundary. Second, the property must show that it has reasonably relied on that statement in taking some act or changing position on the basis of the misrepresentation by the adjoining landowner. Third, the property must show some injury or damage that has occurred as a result of the reliance on the neighboring property owner's statements.


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Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

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