Utah Boundary by agreement
The required elements of boundary by agreement are:
- an agreement between adjoining landowners,
- settling a boundary that is uncertain or in dispute,
- a showing that injury would occur if the boundary were not upheld, and
- where the doctrine is being invoked against successors in interest, demarcation of a boundary line such that a reasonable party would be placed on notice that the given line was being treated as the boundary line between the properties. See Hummel, 265 P.2d at 411; Brown, 232 P.2d at 207; Tripp, 276 P. at 916.
The first element of boundary by agreement requires that there be an “express agreement” between adjoining landowners. Staker v. Ainsworth, 785 P.2d 417, 423 (Utah 1990). This agreement may be oral, see Tripp, 276 P. at 916, but it must be explicit. An inference of an agreement based on mere acts or omissions of the parties is the domain of boundary by acquiescence. Boundary by agreement requires an actual, express statement of agreement between the parties.
An oral agreement “between adjoining owners as to the location of a *67 boundary line” does not violate the statute of frauds, “provided the agreement is followed by actual ... possession by each of the owners up to the line so agreed upon, and provided further, that the proper location of the line is uncertain or in dispute.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “[I]f the location of the true boundary is not known to the adjoining owners, a parol agreement between them fixing its location is not regarded as transferring an interest in land but merely determining the location of existing estates.”9 Brown, 232 P.2d at 207. This exception to the statute of frauds has “long been recognized” by the courts of this state, Hummel, 265 P.2d at 411, and we reaffirm it here.