Adverse possession - unregistered, but someone already occupying

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    Adverse possession - unregistered, but someone already occupying

    Hello, I was hoping someone might be able to help me; I've been looking into who owns an area of land near to me, I submitted a SIM request to the Land Registry which came back to show the land was unregistered. A neighbouring property is currently using the land for their own use, but as they only purchased their house a few years ago, they themselves do not yet have adverse possession rights and still quite a few years away from being able to.

    So I have a few questions:

    1) Can anyone think of a way to try and find out who once owned the land? Looking at historic maps of the area I can see since at least 1850 it has never been farmed and always been unused land. Before the days of computers, where were land deeds kept?

    2) Even though someone is already using the land, I assume I could begin to use the land myself as well? i.e. the current occupier has no more rights to use it than I do, and also has no rights to evict me?

    3) I assume if I also begin to use the land myself that this will scupper the current occupier's plan to possibly register the land for themselves? Could we potentially enter an agreement to apply for Adverse possession in partnership together?

    4) Because the person currently occupying the land own the adjacent property, does that give them any more rights to occupying and then claiming the land than I do (who does not own any neighbouring land)?

    Many thanks

    #2
    The whole point of adverse possession is that it involves a quiet, beneath the radar theft, not a dispute or military escalation.

    If he has fenced it off, locked it etc., you would be a trespasser.

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      #3
      Indeed, Andrew. I would be trespassing, but legally speaking I believe it would be trespassing against the rightful land owner, not the other party who is also trespassing. I don't think they have more right to the land simply because they put a lock on a gate?

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        #4
        The current occupier has the right to sue for trespass if you now attempt to take possession of the land.

        He does have a better title to the land than anyone other than the paper title owner.

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          #5
          Thanks for the information. The law never ceases to surprise me.

          Comment


            #6
            Trespass is not a criminal offence the police told me

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              #7
              Originally posted by CharlieBrown View Post

              2) Even though someone is already using the land, I assume I could begin to use the land myself as well? i.e. the current occupier has no more rights to use it than I do, and also has no rights to evict me?
              Wrong. It's first come, first served with adverse possession. If the current occupier had adverse possession before you, he has a better title than you due to his being in possession first, and so he can apply to the court for an injunction to stop you trespassing on the land. If you broke any injunction awarded by the court by trespassing, it would be a criminal offence which the police would arrest you for. The injunction of the court would give the first adverse possessor this power, not any registration at LR (which he doesn't yet have.).

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                #8
                Is the current 'possessor' actively using this land? If so, then it's his.

                If someone fenced it a few years ago but then lost interest then that could well be different.

                Regarding your question 1, what County is the land in? Take a read of the deeds of one of the adjacent properties and you may well be able to ascertain which large landowner sold a plot to the builder. Could well be his still.

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