Get off my land!

You’ve been in possession or occupation of land for a period of more than 10 years despite not being the registered owner? Well maybe it is time to consider whether you can apply to register as proprietor by claiming adverse possession.

Under the Land Registration Act 2002 a party who has been in adverse possession of registered land (the rules for unregistered land are different) for a period of more than 10 years is entitled, subject to some restrictions, to apply to register their interest providing they can prove,

  1. that they have been in actual possession of the land throughout the 10 year period, by the nature of the acts that have been carried out on the land, and
  2. providing they can prove that the possession is adverse to the owner. In short that the owner has not given permission in any form for the applicant to be in possession of the land.

When the registrar receives the application they will give notice to all interested parties including the owner of the land. Those interested parties then have the opportunity to contest the application by serving either an objection and/or a counter notice. If it is contested then the application will be unsuccessful unless the applicant can show,

  1. that it is unconscionable for the registered owner to be able to dispossess the applicant
  2. that the land is next to theirs and they have been in adverse possession of it with the mistaken belief that they are the owner of it.
  3. there is some other reason why the applicant is entitled to be registered as proprietor

If no objection is made then assuming the Registrar accepts that there is a basis upon which adverse possession of the land should be granted, an application will be successful. Even if the application is not successful, the registered owner has a period of 2 years within which to commence possession proceedings. If they fail to do so then there is an absolute right to registration.

Whether a party is in actual possession of land and whether that possession is adverse to the owner is where legal advice is crucial. We can advise you and can help to collate evidence in order to build a claim and then submit it on your behalf.

If you believe you are in adverse possession of land and wish to apply for registration or if you are facing a claim for adverse possession to your land, please contact our Rob Synnott on or 01736 362 362

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