Adverse possession

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    Adverse possession


    If somebody was occupying land in adverse possession for a period of say 2005 to 2015 but never made a claim and then the land owner used the land for some time in 2016, then the original person in AP occupied from 2017 to date could they still claim AP with the Land Registry?

    Do you need a continuous 10 years exclusive possession at the time a claim is submitted please?


    Originally posted by michael8626 View Post
    Do you need a continuous 10 years exclusive possession at the time a claim is submitted please?
    If it isn't continuous, (because the legal owner used it), then it isn't exclusive.


      That’s great thanks.

      So in the basic scenario of my original post, the person in AP may have had a case if they submitted a claim in 2015?


        Possibly not, because onerous new rules came in which made it much more difficult.



          so to clarify you need a minimum of ten years continuous exclusive possession at the time of making a claim?


            For unregistered land the period required for adverse possession is 12 years of exclusive possession.
            After 12 years Section 17 Limitation Act 1980 extinguished the legal unregistered title.
            Then an application can be made to Land Registry to be registered with a Possessory Title.

            For land that is registered with Land Registry after possession of 10 years has passed then an application can be made to be registered as the new owner. That is when Land Registry notify the registered owner about the application.
            Then the true legal owner has 2 years in which to seek a possession order, because Section 15 Limitation Act 1980 allows for a 12 years period during which time legal action to recover land is permitted.

            In respect of your posting any period of adverse possession came to an end so that a new period has now begun, but if this is registered land then in 10 year time an application made to Land Registry will be notified to the registered proprietor who can make a possession claim.

            It does seem unlikely that you will be successful in retaining possession of the land you occupied from 2005 to 2015.


              Many thanks

              I have read parts of the guidance notes for AP and when it gets to LR the applicant has to chance to explain any ‘gaps’ when they were not in possession of the land.

              That seems to go against the basis of exclusive possession of the land? I thought you needed 10 years continuous possession at the time of applying? Reading the notes that doesn’t appear the case?


                But that does not apply to you as you have already said the owner had brief use of the land. That is not a gap that is the owner taking back use of their land so you could not meet the exclusive possession requirement. You need to look at the other requirements in full as they apply to cases after 2002 and are more onerous.


                  Indeed as the owner is still, ocassionally, using the land then the other party is not in adverse possession - they are simply a trespasser using it without permission when he is not there.



                    That is great, very helpful, thank you. I should have said earlier I am the owner of the land.

                    If a person was previously occupying land for a ten year period from say 2005 to 2015 is there any chance they can retrospectively claim AP? Would they have to had made an application for AP in 2015.


                      If you are the owner, (and registered as such), then you would/should have got notice of any application for adverse possession.


                        Yes, my name is on the title plan. I may about to be served with AP from 2005 to date, but with a break in 2017 when I used the land? Would the applicant have a case for 2005-2016 and 2018-2019, do they need 10 exclusive continuous years from date ie 2009 to 2019?


                          I wouldn't think so.

                          AFAIK they servre the AP, you contest it as the legal owner who has used the land and that's it.
                          You are still the legal owner, you still have an interest in using the land, a trespasser can't just claim it now, although they might have been able to earlier if you didn't contest their claim if made earlier.

                          But I'm not a lawyer and you should probably be retaining one who knows property law.


                            I agree that you need an expert, but there's a substantial difference between 10 years non-contiguous year's of possession and 10 years with a gap during which the actual owner had possession. The owner's possession would seem to end the previous period of adverse possession and a new period begins when the adverse possession begins again.
                            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                              Thank you for all the replies. I have employed a solicitor as this originated from a land dispute. It just seems difficult to get a definitive answer. We just seem to keep writing letters ‘referring to comments from my previous letter’ and going round in circles. The only winners at present are the legal profession 😔


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