Help! Adverse Possession

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    Help! Adverse Possession

    I have a section of land on the opposite side of a small country lane to my house that I have genuinely used for approx 35 years and my parents whom occupied my house before me for a further 8 years. The land in question is fenced off with wire stock fencing and posts and has an entrance gate. I use the land for storage of building materials, burning of rubbish, I have a compost bund which runs the length of one side, I have 3 old garden type sheds and a large 3 bay log shelter on there which my self and my late Father have erected over the years. I also grow vegetables, and in the past raised chickens, on there and generally use this land as my own. I keep the trees and bushes trimmed and tidy.

    I did enquire to the Land registry about 10 years ago and found out that it does in fact belong to someone who lives locally, I have never been approached by the owner and have never approached him. I am worried that he may turn up one day and ask my to leave and I feel that it is time to try and claim it under adverse possession. I believe that my neighbours will be wiling to confirm my use of the land. Should I try t claim under the new rules or old? Do you think I have a good chance and do you think I need to use a solicitor? Also what costs are involved?

    #2
    The main question is - is that piece of land registered or not? Given that the Land Registry has told you who the owner is it sounds to be registered but the rules of adverse possession are very different whether the land is registered or not so this is the first thing you need to get absolutely spot on.

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      #3
      Thank you Mattl for you response.

      Yes, the piece of land is registered and is in one name. I checked with the Land Registry in July 2000 and have their letter and map which they send back to me.

      I have checked today and to be accurate on the dates that I have been using the land as my own is since 1981. Obviously I want to get this right as I understand that I will probably only get one chance at it.

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        #4
        If you want to get it right DIY is not recommended. Instruct a conveyancer with the necessary experience.

        Comment


          #5
          Even if you use the services of a solicitor you will need to provide evidence that for a period of 12 years prior to October 2003 when the Land Registration Act 2002 came into force, that you had been in adverse possession of the land by excluding all persons including the true legal owner with a registered title.

          The proof will normally consist of statements of truth signed by you and everyone else able to confirm that exclusive possession of the land started 12 years before 2003 and that there was an intention to possess the land. Photos are also good evidence as long as the dates can be verified.

          That type of evidence will enable a claim to be made to be registered as legal proprietor because the Limitation Act 1980 will have applied to the facts of the case because the possession had occured prior to the 2002 Land Registration Act becoming law.

          Section 17 of the Limitation Act 1980 stated that the previous legal title would have been extinguished after 12 years of adverse posession, because that was when the 12 year time limit mentioned in Section 15 for the legal owner to begin legal action for repossession had passed.

          After that 12 year period had passed the Land Registration Act 1925 confirmed that the proprietor of the registered title held the land in trust for the adverse possessor who thereafter had a better title to the land.

          The new Land Registration Act 2002 changed that, so proving adverse possession had already passed the 12 years period prior to October 2003 will allow you to make an application to be registered as the owner that ought to succeed, as long as your evidence is accepted by Land Registry.

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            #6
            Thanks Pilman for your advice. So if I got statements of truth from my neighbours either side of my property and myself and as much proof as possible for that period, do you think I need to use a solicitor? (I have been quoted £1000 plus vat). Would the fact that usage went back way before the 12 years be a help or should I concentrate on just the 12 years previous to 2003. Also out of interest how would I stand if the owner approached me, lets say tomorrow, before I apply for A P and tells me to remove all of property and sheds etc form his land and to take down the fencing and gate? What should my reply to him be? Even after all the years of use I would like to be prepare and would not want to lose it on a technicality.

            Thanks again.

            Comment


              #7
              kingy,

              If you want to get it right DIY is not recommended. Instruct a conveyancer with the necessary experience.

              Comment

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