New neighbours don’t accept previous neighbour agreement

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    New neighbours don’t accept previous neighbour agreement

    Advice desperately needed please everyone!
    The house next to mine was purchased a few years ago after the man (M) who owned before passed away.
    The current owners (O) recently messaged me to say that we had ‘encroached’ on to their land by several meters. (Around 40m2 total)
    We explained to O that M had agreed to the new boundary but we never did anything in writing nor any paperwork with land registry for the boundary. So O are looking at the plan before M agreed to the change.

    We pointed out that we had been occupying the land for the last 8 years including everyday of O’s ownership uncontested.
    O have now fenced the land and told us it belongs to them because M was a tenant so couldn’t agree to anything without owners (written) consent.

    We genuinely believed that O owned the house and that the new owners agreed to the boundary when they bought the house and moved in.
    We’ve spent thousands on the new boundary and maintaining the land, it doesn’t seem fair as we weren’t told M was a tenant.
    Appreciate someone to point me in the right direction.

    I think you have to accept it. If M was a tenant he couldn't give the land away as it wasn't his. If he owned it you should have sorted it out properly at the land registry. You have no evidence at all that he gave it to you. Didn't you think it was strange at the time? Who would give away part of their garden rather than sell it?


      Hi Royw, thanks for your response.
      I was just reading about overriding interests. Does this apply to us?


        The only way that a transfer of land can legally be completed is when there is a written deed, signed and witnessed by the legal owner.

        Then the Transferee would need to register the transferred land by making an application to Land Registry.

        That would be when a new register of title would be issued by Land Registry with the new Proprietor's name shown on the register of title and the area of land transferred shown on the title plan edged with a red line.

        A verbal statement cannot be used to legally transfer land.


          Hi Pilman, I understand what your saying, but it’s not like we’ve bought a small holding.
          It was intended to agree the boundary, nothing more.
          I’m sure as with every boundary agreement, there was a small transfer of land.
          I don’t see anywhere that says a tenant can’t agree a boundary line.


            The fact you did not know that M was a tenant does not help you. It is simply the case (and I think you will agree that it has to be) that a tenant cannot give away his landlord's land.

            Whilst not relevant in your case, for the record, even if M had been the freeholder it is the case, as Pilman says, that property can only be transferred by deed. An oral boundary agreement certainly does not transfer land. A written one will do so only if made made deed and specifically includes a transfer of land which is registered at the Land Registry. Otherwise a boundary agreement may bind the parties who make it, but not anyone else. See this page on the Land Registry site: Note that it says:

            You can’t use a boundary agreement to sell or give away part of your land to your neighbour.

            Get legal advice if you want to make sure the boundary agreement is still valid after you or your neighbour sell your property.


              Issue still ongoing.
              our neighbour have taken back possession of the land by fencing it of to exclude us.
              they’ve recently agreed a sale on the house, so we’ve instructed our solicitor to write to the neighbours Estate agents.
              our solicitor says that an overriding interest - actual occupation is our best bet for this dispute.

              but you all have given the impression that this doesn’t apply to us?


                So to recap.

                A Tenant has given you something that is not legally their property to give away.
                You have used this for a number of years out of good faith believing this property to now be yours.
                Having found out this is not the case and that you have actually 'done a deal' verbally that should not have happened, you have decided the best course of action is legally to try and get something back that you should never have used in the first place??

                If there was such a system in place, then I would look at charging you with backdated rent for my property. In addition, all expenses and costs to put my garden back to the original condition and the upcoming legal battle.

                Trying to imagine my reaction if I next inspect one of my properties to find out my tenant has given some of my garden away.

                I wish your neighbour all the best in their legal dispute and fully understand why they are moving.


                  I suspect your buyers will pull out at the slightest whiff of a boundary dispute


                    our solicitor says that an overriding interest - actual occupation is our best bet for this dispute.
                    If you told your solicitor that you had possession of the land for a period of 8 years and you did so with permission given by a previous occupant of the next door property, who was a tenant, then that would not meet the legal definition of adverse possession, which requires factual possession with the intent to exclude all others including the legal owner.

                    The possession also has to be against the freehold title holder not his tenant, but it would need factual possession for a period in excess of 12 years if the land remained unregistered.

                    What has now happened is that the new owner has exercised his right of self help by reclaiming land in his legal title, rather than seeking a possession order from the court by providing evidence that you were not in possession of the land for a sufficient length of time to prove adverse possession.

                    Even if the land next door was unregistered until the new owner bought it a few years ago, there is no way that you can claim an overriding interest in this area of land that "may" have been in your possession prior to first registration which was compulsory when the new buyer bought it a few years ago.

                    It seems highly likely that your solicitor is offering a poor service if he is accepting your instructions to start a property dispute now that the next door property is being offered for sale. You will be the one paying legal costs when there is no way you are in the right.


                      But that makes no sense. When the neighbours bought in 2016 we had had possession of the land adjoining our home.
                      the neighbours land was registered in 2009, ours in 1994.
                      The lease title came to an end in 2015, meaning we were in adverse possession for at least a year before the current owners moved in - and subsequently on the day they purchased.

                      “Sched­ule 3, para­graph 2 of the Land Reg­is­tra­tion Act (LRA) 2002 pro­vides that an un­reg­is­tered in­ter­est may over­ride where ‘it be­longs at the time of the dis­po­si­tion to a per­son in ac­tual oc­cu­pa­tion’.”

                      I understand this to apply to our situation, and our actual occupation means that our interest did not need to be registered.
                      I can’t find any legislation to say otherwise.
                      Unless you are all saying that I must have had the 10 year minimum before the current owners bought?


                        We had some unregistered land that was rented out for 20+ years. Part of the land had a stream with a small plot of land which backed onto the back gardens of 4 houses. The person who we rented this plot to over the years had rented to the owners of the adjoining houses sections of this land down to the stream. Our tenant even asked these sub-tenants if they wanted to buy their individual plots.
                        Due to circumstances we decided not to renew the lease, when the tenant left I presume that he had to tell these house owners that he was going and all the fencing was removed.
                        The fact that these neighbours had rented for years did not give them a legal standing. And as they were paying rent (although not to the actual owner) they could not claim possessory title as paying rent nullifies any claim for title.
                        I took possession and I had some very irate neighbours.


                          the neighbours land was registered in 2009, ours in 1994.
                          The lease title came to an end in 2015, meaning we were in adverse possession for at least a year before the current owners moved in - and subsequently on the day they purchased.
                          The Limitation Act 1980 will still apply to unregistered land, but not to registered land since the Land Registration Act 2002 became operative in October 2003.

                          Schedule 6 of the 2002 Act is about adverse possession, which you want to argue is what you occupation of the land was from 2015.
                          After 10 years that is when it would be possible to apply to be registered as proprietor if any of the conditions are met.
                          (4)The third condition is that—

                          (a)the land to which the application relates is adjacent to land belonging to the applicant,

                          (b)the exact line of the boundary between the two has not been determined under rules under section 60,

                          (c)for at least ten years of the period of adverse possession ending on the date of the application, the applicant (or any predecessor in title) reasonably believed that the land to which the application relates belonged to him, and

                          (d)the estate to which the application relates was registered more than one year prior to the date of the application.
                          (a) might apply, as could (b), but (c) is very specific that less than 10 years will not justify a claim of adverse possession against the owner of a freehold registered title.

                          What you were doing was trespassing for a period of years that did not ripen into any possible claim that such trespassing was indicative of factual possession with an intention to possess that would be sufficient evidence of adverse possession.

                          However its your money to spend as you wish, so incurring legal fees for what seems to be a hopeless situation is always an option.


                            Schedule 3, paragraph 2 of the Land Registration Act (LRA) 2002 provides that an unregistered interest may override where 'it belongs at the time of the disposition to a person in actual occupation'.

                            Is it our interest that does not qualify, or our actual occupation?


                              I may be completely wrong about this, but if your property was registered in 1994, there was no "unregistered interest".

                              What you want to claim is that you had used land not included in your registered title without the permission of the freeholder. whose property when registered in 2009 was subject to a lease until 2015.

                              Typically an unregistered interest would be a right of way, or some other easement that benefited an unregistered property when the burdened property was first registered.

                              You could not apply to register your use of the land as adverse possession until 10 years after such possession began, so you have no unregistered interest to register.


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