legitimacy of 1st registration claims (Adverse Possession)

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    legitimacy of 1st registration claims (Adverse Possession)

    How does land registry check legitimacy of 1st registration claims?
    How can they prove someone has been in adverse possession for the required amount of time?

    When an application is made for first registration based on adverse possession, Land Registry will arrange for a survey to be carried out to ascertain exactly what steps have been taken to retain exclusive possession by preventing access to all persons including the legal owner with a paper title.

    It is always up to the applicant to provide evidence that supports a claim for occupation for more than 12 years, as required by the Limitation Act 1980 for unregistered land, or for the 10 years required by Land Registration Act 2002 for registered land.

    It is the applicant that has to prove matters based on the civil law requirement of on the balance of probability.


      It depends very much on what has been adversely occupied. If it is a building the LR likes to see documentary evidence of occupation such as a rates or utilities bill. In the case of open land the LR surveyor will be looking carefully at the land for signs of long term occupation. If the land is a plot overgrown with thistles, surrounded by a new fence and bears a newly painted "Keep Off" sign the surveyor is not going to be impressed. On the other hand if you have extended your garden and the area has established trees and the fence is old you are far more likely to succeed. You are unikely to be successful in getting registered if the land is outside the apparent curtilage of your property, for example a verge the other side of your garden fence or on the opposite side of the road even if you have tended the land for years; that is because the land is such that it cannot usually be occupied in a meaningful way. Context is also important. If you farm 2000 acres and have encroached onto a quarter of an acre you are more likely to be successful than someone fencing the same land who lives 20 miies away.

      The LR also likes to see a statutory declaration by someone disinterested in the land.

      There are no hard and fast rules as every situation is different. If the land claimed is of any value it is worth instructing a conveyancer experienced in making such claims so that the application is in order. It is especially important that any statutory declaration or statement of truth gets the right words in the right order.

      If you have a particular situation in mind let us have the facts and we can comment further.


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