Purchasing a Plot of (currently) Unregistered Land - Risks?

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    #16
    what would happen if somebody did come out of the woodwork with a possessory title?
    At the risk of repeating what has already been explained, perhaps I should have explained further about what would be required to successfully claim adverse possession of land in a court of law, since we definitely know that no registered title of any kind has been issued by Land Registry.
    .
    There would have to be a Claimant and there would have to be a Defendant.

    That this never happened seems most probable if the current legal owner of the land you want to buy knows nothing of any such court action when he would have had to have been the named Defendant.

    That would mean that there is a single unregistered legal title for all the land shown on the package of deeds and plans in the possession of the current Vendor of the land being referred to in this posting.

    What could happen in the worst case scenario is that as soon as you have completed the purchase of the parcel of land you want to buy, court proceedings will be started by the person claiming to be in adverse possession of any part of that land.

    That person would be the Claimant and you would then be named as the Defendant.

    The claim would have to be based on more than 12 years exclusive possession with the intention to possess by excluding all others from the land including the person with the legal title. The name of that person would be known as soon as you became owner of a registered title, but it would have been the previous owner who was deprived of the land. The claim would be that his legal title was extinguished by the 12 years adverse possession.

    That would be why he could not sell all the land to you, because he no longer owned part of it at the time of the transfer to you.

    Fast forward to the time when you are granted title of the whole parcel of land you intend to buy based on all of that land being shown on the plan provided to Land Registry when the current owner sells to you after registering all of the land in this large estate.

    You have already stated that you would not be too bothered about the small area that has been mowed by the neighbouring residential property owner.
    I'd be happy to purchase the land with or without this corner bit.
    So as soon as you have completed the purchase and have the Official Copy of the Register and Title Plan in your possession you go and see the owner of the residential property that may have been tending this corner of the land you are shown as registered proprietor of.

    You tell him that as the new owner you will no longer allow him to trespass on your land.

    At that point in the worst scenario you will know if he intends to claim he has been in adverse possession of that land with the intention to possess it, so that he will claim that the original title to that land was extinguished and he now has a better title than you.

    Currently I am involved in such a claim and the legal costs schedule provided by the other party before the matter has even had a Costs and Case Management Hearing shows that if this matter was to be dealt with by a 3 day final hearing the legal fees will be in the region of £55,000, for a property that has an estimated value of £100,000.

    In your case if that is what you are told by this neighbouring land-owner, then hand him the signed and completed TP1 form that you had downloaded from the Land Registry web-site with a plan attached showing the corner of land you are transferring to him.
    On this Deed which is for a Transfer of Part of a registered title, your name will be shown as Transferor and his name shown as Transferee.

    Then you tell him you expect him to erect a fence to define the boundary of the land transferred and then go back to doing what it is you want to do with the rest of the land you just bought.

    That will have cost you a few minutes of your time and the matter is settled for ever.

    In my business that would be what is known as "A Result."

    Another alternative is that when you meet this neighbour he will say "Nice to meet you, I hope you enjoy the land you just bought"

    Also "A Result."

    Comment


      #17
      Thanks for your informative response once again Pilman.

      I apologise if you feel you have been repeating yourself. My confusion this whole time was that I don't know how you could (based on my information given here) be so sure a posessory title had not been awarded pre- compulsory registration. So I think I finally understand that you are saying:

      (1) If an application for adverse posession had been made after compulsory registration came into force in my area, the part claimed would be registered. It isn't, so we can rule this out going back to at least 1990, and maybe earlier depending on when it came into force in my area.

      (2) If a posessory title had been awarded prior to compulsory registration in my area, this would have required the claimant to go to court and the paper title owner would have been the defendant. I know that the land owner has not been involved in such a case. So we can rule this out.

      I have spoken with the landowner and the solicitors did indeed pay this person a visit awhile back - The suspected posessor was unable to produce the posessory title they claimed to have, but stated that it was "in the bank" and they did not want to, nor have to, present it to the landowner's solicitors. Hence my starting of this thread to ascertain if we could tell whether they were bluffing or not.

      Originally posted by pilman
      Another alternative is that when you meet this neighbour he will say "Nice to meet you, I hope you enjoy the land you just bought"
      Based on prior encounters with this individual, I highly doubt that this would happen.

      Originally posted by pilman
      Fast forward to the time when you are granted title of the whole parcel of land you intend to buy based on all of that land being shown on the plan provided to Land Registry when the current owner sells to you after registering all of the land in this large estate.
      If I am granted title of the whole parcel of the land, given that we've ascertained that this person almost certainly does not hold a posessory title, and that the area in question is not fenced off and members of the public can walk through it, what is to stop me fencing off the whole area shown on the title plan for myself? It seems that, having failed to make an adverse posession claim this whole time, the onus would be on the suspected posessor to prove 12 years worth of posession, now with the added difficulty of my fence closing off the area. If they are granted the posessory title, I could just move my fence.

      This would force this person to show their hand (either start a claim or clear off), and if they are granted the title moving the fence is an inexpensive outcome (the land is not that large).

      Echoing an earlier comment, I am surprised the landowner's solicitors do not advise them to fence off the land; again, surely this would then force the suspected posessor to show their hand? It would also prevent any future incursion (the landowner does not live near the land).

      Comment


        #18
        The suspected possessor was unable to produce the possessory title they claimed to have, but stated that it was "in the bank" and they did not want to, nor have to, present it to the landowner's solicitors.
        Once again you appear to think that there is a paper title for this particular area of land, although the only two paper titles known about will the one where the extent of the Estate is shown by a written description or a plan and the one where the extent of the other parcel of unregistered land is defined by a written description or a plan.

        What cannot exist is a Possessory title since that will have to have been issued by Land Registry.

        The two sets of plans for the two adjacent properties in separate ownership would have to be compared to establish if the smaller area of unregistered land included the same small area of land as does the estate plan.

        i.e. Does that plan include the triangle that has been tended by this neighbouring land owner?

        That is the only document in the possession of the person who you believe is in possession of this area of land that this posting is all about.
        It will the plan and the conveyance he received when he bought the property he is now living in, if that is indeed a residential property located immediately adjacent to the Estate that belonged to the now deceased owner.

        That will be a boundary dispute if the two plans include the same small area of land.

        It cannot be a possessory title with a piece of paper that established that fact.

        Only Land Registry can issue a paper Possessory Title and since the Land Registration Act 1925 became law it appears that no successful application has been made to Land Registry, because otherwise there would be a registered title in existence. That would not be dependent on compulsory registration because the application would have been a voluntary application to have a registered title issued since the applicant would not have had a legitimate paper title.

        Once a single registered title is created for the whole of the land identified in the Estate Deeds and plans, then you should concentrate on buying the area of land that excludes the small area that you seem so worried about, especially as you have already said you are prepared to do that.

        That way there will be no possibility that you could become involved in a legal action regarding some land that another person seems to want to claim ownership of.

        If you really do not want this disputed area of land then don't attempt to buy it.
        Just insist on buying the area of land that no one else may have a claim to, once the Estate solicitor shows you the extent of the land on its newly registered title plan.

        An Ordnance Survey plan at a scale of 1:500 or 1:1250 can be bought on a number of web-sites depending on the area of land you are intending to buy. Use the best scale of map to identify the exact area of land that you can buy without inclosing the disputed area inside the red line you can draw on the plan once it is printed.
        Then negotiate with the Estate solicitor to buy exactly that area of land.

        That is the pragmatic way to resolve all the doubts and fears you are current expressing.

        If you don't want the hassle of arguing with a potential claimant of the land being tended by the neighbour, don't attempt to buy it.

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