Adverse Possession

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    Adverse Possession

    I acquired possession of a property 13 years ago. It was an ex council house that had been bought by the tenant. The neighbouring property was still a council property. Its tenant purchased that house 5 years ago.

    Today I discovered that the fence in between the houses is a foot nearer the neighbour's house than it should be and it has been since I bought the property. Does that mean I can claim adverse possession or does the fact that the property was owned by the council until 5 years ago complicate matters?

    One foot?
    Is this a coursework question?

    That's a fence positioning / boundary issue.
    By the time you have scaled up the boundayy line drawn on the deeds it will be at least that wide, and often wider if the boundary is drawn in a thick line.


      Unless the neighbour has queried the position of the fence I think that this is something you can quietly ignore.

      The first point to be made when it is suggested that a fence may be in the wrong place is that determining the position of a legal boundary of a property to a matter of inches by referring to a Land Registry plan or a plan on an old deed is rarely possible. Please read these threads I started years ago which explain some of the difficulties:

      A foot is within what the Land Registry would regard as the margin of error allowed for a garden boundary under the general boundaries rule (explained in the first of the above threads). They would therefore be very likely to decline to deal with any application claiming title to a strip of land one foot wide. Bear in mind that a thick line on a plan with a scale of 1:1250 represents more than a foot.

      For the record, the position with regard to adverse possession is as follows:

      If land belonging to freeholder A is let to B and C goes into adverse possession, then C's possession is adverse against B and not A. Accordingly, so long as the tenancy lasts time does not start to run against A. There does though come a point when B will lose the right to oust C.

      When B's tenancy comes to an end if C remains in occupation time starts to run against A. The period C was in occupation during B's tenancy is ignored.

      What we have here though is a case where the tenancy has come to an end because the tenant bought the property. Whilst time will be running from when the tenant bought, does the period of adverse possession against the tenant while he was a tenant count? I am not sure I know the answer to that. I suspect that it does not. Anyway, the point is going to be academic if the Land Registry are going decline to accept an application for a very narrow strip of land.

      EDIT: The above started before seeing post 2.


        I acquired possession of a property 13 years ago.
        Does that mean you started your possession 13 years ago, or you applied for and was granted a possessory title by Land Registry 13 years ago?

        There is quite a difference in those two options that could affect any sensible response to your posting, since a possessory title will have its own title plan which can be compared to the other property's title plan to see if the general boundary rule now applies to the actual position of the legal boundary or did what you took possession of appear to be what a true purchaser would have taken possession of after completion of a purchase of the property that defined by an existing boundary fence?


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