Adverse Possession Of Land

It is possible to become the owner of a piece of land that you did not originally own through your use or possession of the land. This is called ‘adverse possession’, and someone using or possessing the land is known as a ‘squatter’.

Claims to adverse possession are commonly made for a footpath or area of waste ground near the squatter’s garden which does not appear to be owned by anyone, but which the squatter has used for many years.

However you can also claim adverse possession of land which is owned by someone else, for instance if you have used it for many years as your own and the owner has not objected or claimed it back.

How Do You Acquire Land By Adverse Possession?

The rules are complicated. What is vital is to be able to show how your possession of the land started and for how long it has continued. You will need to make an application to the Land Registry, which will notify the registered owner of the land (if any), and other nearby landowners. If they oppose the application, the application may be referred to the Property Tribunal for a decision.

You will need to prove that you occupy the land without the owner’s consent. If you are paying a licence fee or rent, then obviously the occupation is with consent. You also have to show that you intend to possess the land, which you can do by barring access to others, such as by fencing it off.

It is important to take advice about a particular set of circumstances. Call us today to discuss your situation and how we can help.

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