Adverse Possession

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I am often asked what someone can do if part of their garden is not included in their Title Documents or is not registered as part of their Title at the Land Registry.

Although the most common way of establishing who owns land is to look at the Title Deeds, it is sometimes possible for the original owners of land to lose their ownership due to another party’s adverse possession of it.

The test for adverse possession is whether the trespasser has possessed the land for the requisite period. This is different for registered and unregistered land depending on when the possession has taken place. The requisite period is:

  1. If the land is unregistered, 12 years
  2. If the land is registered but the adverse possession period occurred before 13th October 2003, 12 years
  3. If the land is registered but the adverse possession period did not occur before 13th October 2003, 10 years.

To show adverse possession of land, you must show that you have factual possession of the land, that you intended to possess the land, that the possession is without the owners consent and that all of these facts have been true for the requisite period.

If the above test is satisfied, you can make an application to the Land Registry for possessory title.

The test for adverse possession is different, if the land is registered.

Claims for adverse possession can be brought through the court as well as by application to the Land Registry for Possessory Title. The circumstance of the case will determine which is the most appropriate avenue for you. Legal advice should always be taken in these situations.

Should you have any concern that some of your land is being possessed by a neighbour or that any land you have cared for and had in your possession is not included within your Title documents, then please do not hesitate to contact Alison Rowley of Donald Race and Newton Solicitors.

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