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  • FIRST POST
    • Silver Shark
    • By Silver Shark 16th Oct 16, 4:01 AM
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    Silver Shark
    Boundary dispute - Land Registry Representative help please
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 16, 4:01 AM
    Boundary dispute - Land Registry Representative help please 16th Oct 16 at 4:01 AM
    We purchased our home twenty years ago on a new development. The neighbouring property has recently been sold to a housing association.

    The day after completion they gave us seven days to remove a fence which they claimed was incorrectly situated and there was a portion of land belonging to their property.

    We were able to prove from photographs that the boundary fences were the original fences erected by the builders and we had gained a portion of land that we should not have. As we had occupied the land for twenty years we went to a solicitor who agreed that adverse possession was applicable. He dealt with it by means of an affidavit to vary the title deeds. Our solicitor sent a transfer document to the housing association, but they will not deal with it unless all their legal costs are paid by us.

    Our position is that the housing association raised the dispute and we feel that we should not have to pay their legal costs as we have to pay to rectify the plans anyway. Our solicitor has advised that arguing adverse possession would cost much more than agreeing to transfer the land voluntarily.

    To get to this stage has taken six months and several hundred pounds. We are looking for advice as we are not in a position to spend a lot of money to rectify this situation and we do not wish to pay the housing association's costs also.

    Any ideas on how we move forward.
    Last edited by Silver Shark; 16-10-2016 at 4:02 PM.
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 16th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
    • 22,263 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:01 AM
    So you want your cake and to eat it?

    I'm having trouble with the logic of expecting someone else to pay for you gaining a free piece of land. There's money saving and then there's taking the proverbial.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 16-10-2016 at 9:03 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 16th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
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    warby68
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
    Or you could give the land back?

    I'm guessing OP feels that as it wasn't their fault (developer put the fence where it is) they shouldn't have to pay. But it isn't the new owner's fault either by the looks of it. Pursuing the developer from 20y ago seems the right kind of direction for blame but would presumably cost even more.

    Might just be one of those things where you have to bear a bit of pain to keep the gain! And here the gain is that the HA are willing to give you the land if you pay the costs without making you fight too much or give it back - that is actually a pretty reasonable outcome.
    Last edited by warby68; 16-10-2016 at 9:10 AM.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 16th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
    Or you could give the land back?

    I'm guessing OP feels that as it wasn't their fault (developer put the fence where it is) they shouldn't have to pay. But it isn't the new owner's fault either by the looks of it. Pursuing the developer from 20y ago seems the right kind of direction for blame but would presumably cost even more.

    Might just be one of those things where you have to bear a bit of pain to keep the gain! And here the gain is that the HA are willing to give you the land if you pay the costs without making you fight too much or give it back - that is actually a pretty reasonable outcome.
    Originally posted by warby68
    Way more diplomatic than me. Well done
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Biggles
    • By Biggles 16th Oct 16, 9:16 AM
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    Biggles
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:16 AM
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:16 AM
    I'm having trouble with the logic of expecting someone else to pay for you gaining a free piece of land. There's money saving and then there's taking the proverbial.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    That's a bit unfair.

    They bought it and paid for it. It was the builder that made the mistake; it's probably too late to expect them to rectify it but it might be worth trying to begin with.

    It might depend how large the area of land is and just how much the cost is. As well as the effect it may (or may not) have on the resale price of your property in the future.

    If 'adverse possession is applicable', I'm wondering if that means that you actually own it under the law? That is, can you sit back and tell the housing association to claim it from you (which they won't, of course)?

    Is it worth asking for a meeting with the HA and trying to see if they are prepared to accept some kind of compromise?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 16th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:20 AM
    That's a bit unfair.

    They bought it and paid for it. It was the builder that made the mistake; it's probably too late to expect them to rectify it but it might be worth trying to begin with.

    It might depend how large the area of land is and just how much the cost is. As well as the effect it may (or may not) have on the resale price of your property in the future.

    If 'adverse possession is applicable', I'm wondering if that means that you actually own it under the law? That is, can you sit back and tell the housing association to claim it from you (which they won't, of course)?

    Is it worth asking for a meeting with the HA and trying to see if they are prepared to accept some kind of compromise?
    Originally posted by Biggles
    Are you reading the same post as me? The housing association's suggesting of letting the OP formally have the land for free with no argument, but with the OP paying the fees is a perfect compromise! I wouldn't have hoped for a much better outcome.

    Arguing adverse possession is more expensive for *everyone*, the costs unquantifiable and the outcome ultimately unknown. A transfer fee is set.

    If your neighbour offered you part of their garden for free but with you paying for the transfer fee, would you accept that? Or would you seek a better 'compromise'?

    I mean, the OP could always offer the land back that shouldn't have been theirs. I'm not suggesting they do it, but that's the other side of it. Being given the land but just paying the fee sounds totally fair.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 16-10-2016 at 9:29 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Biggles
    • By Biggles 16th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
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    Biggles
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:35 AM
    The housing association's suggesting of letting the OP formally have the land for free with no argument, but with the OP paying the fees is a perfect compromise!
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    That was why I was asking what the cost was likely to be, compared to the benefit. The way the OP was written implies that it may be quite significant, involving all their legal costs in raising and pursuing the issue, rather than just the transfer costs.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 16th Oct 16, 9:50 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:50 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:50 AM
    That was why I was asking what the cost was likely to be, compared to the benefit. The way the OP was written implies that it may be quite significant, involving all their legal costs in raising and pursuing the issue, rather than just the transfer costs.
    Originally posted by Biggles
    There are cases of boundary dispute costs stretching well into five figures over a matter of inches. As soon as you hit a courtroom, that's the upshot of it.

    They could also both maintain the status quo and spend nothing, but if neither ever needs to sell then it's fine, but if the OP ever sells, the buyer will check the boundaries against the plan - it will come up regardless of the fact that the HA noticed when they purchased.

    The OP is also legally obliged to declare that it has been highlighted to them that they are in possession of land that doesn't belong to them. Disputes legally need to be declared, as do any matters that might affect a buyer's offer - like land included in the sale that doesn't actually belong in the title or a potential legal battle with the neighbours.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 16-10-2016 at 9:55 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 16th Oct 16, 9:59 AM
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    Norman Castle
    • #9
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:59 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:59 AM
    OP. How much are the HA costs and how much is the land worth to you?
    Too cool for school. Also too old for school.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 16th Oct 16, 10:02 AM
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    warby68
    So many reasons why the offer as put seems worth taking

    - the boundary issue will come up in any future sale of either property and the parties involved at that time may not be so amenable
    - it could become a dispute that affects saleability or value
    - losing the land could devalue the property
    - employing a solicitor to chase down the developer who then blames their solicitor who then blames your solicitor who then blames the developer again who then blames their contractor who then blames their surveyor who then blames the solicitor again who blames the fence erector who has long gone out of business!!!
    - boundary disputes are costly and, in my reading, are not looked on kindly if the parties have been unreasonable, even the one who gets a judgement in their favour
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 16th Oct 16, 10:06 AM
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    shaun from Africa
    Personally, I don't see that the OP should be liable for any costs incurred by the housing association.

    The OP's solicitor has already provided the paperwork stating that they believe that they have the right of adverse possession to the land concerned and as the HA have only recently purchased the adjacent property, surely it is their conveyancing solicitor (or the legal dept of the council if they did the work) that should be liable for any costs as this should have been picked up and queried prior to the purchase being completed.

    The OP is also legally obliged to declare that it has been highlighted to them that they are in possession of land that doesn't belong to them
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    As far as I'm aware, all the OP (or their solicitor) needs to do now is to submit an adverse possession registration form to the land registry along with the required fee and the affidavit from the solicitor and if this is accepted, the land will be registered to them and then if selling in the future, no declaration about a dispute needs to be made.
    Last edited by shaun from Africa; 16-10-2016 at 10:56 AM.
    • Silver Shark
    • By Silver Shark 17th Oct 16, 4:45 AM
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    Silver Shark
    Personally, I don't see that the OP should be liable for any costs incurred by the housing association.

    The OP's solicitor has already provided the paperwork stating that they believe that they have the right of adverse possession to the land concerned and as the HA have only recently purchased the adjacent property, surely it is their conveyancing solicitor (or the legal dept of the council if they did the work) that should be liable for any costs as this should have been picked up and queried prior to the purchase being completed.


    As far as I'm aware, all the OP (or their solicitor) needs to do now is to submit an adverse possession registration form to the land registry along with the required fee and the affidavit from the solicitor and if this is accepted, the land will be registered to them and then if selling in the future, no declaration about a dispute needs to be made.
    Originally posted by shaun from Africa

    Thank you Shaun from Africa, your reply is most helpful. The housing association's original letter to us states that they were aware of the boundary discrepancy prior to purchase and completion.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 17th Oct 16, 5:42 AM
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    warby68
    Thank you Shaun from Africa, your reply is most helpful. The housing association's original letter to us states that they were aware of the boundary discrepancy prior to purchase and completion.
    Originally posted by Silver Shark
    I know this is the answer you want but you have already said in your OP that your solicitor has advised you that the adverse possession route will be costlier than than the voluntary agreement so take care you don't incur a large cost trying to avoid a (hopefully) relatively small one.

    Shaun might be able to clarify why solicitor is wrong but I'd still be wary of a HA with deeper pockets simply 'back and forthing' your costs up regardless of eventual outcome.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 17th Oct 16, 8:37 AM
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    Norman Castle
    Any ideas on how we move forward.
    Originally posted by Silver Shark
    Find out how much they want you to pay.
    Too cool for school. Also too old for school.
  • Land Registry representative
    Seems you have the 2 choices already outlined for you and whilst both rely, to differing extents, on the HA to playing ball in my experience it would be the Adv P route you would take.

    I suspect the solicitor has suggested the legal transfer route simply because the HA have said that they were aware of the discrepancy when they bought. That doe snot equate to them being willing to accept any legal costs for them to then enter into a legal transfer of ownership and the work that goes with it.

    The Adv P route would most likely result in no additional costs to them other than non-reply or consenting to any notice serviced on them re your claim. If they have not disputed the point to date then I would imagine that they have already considered heir legal position and would not object so in essence they may not have to do anything extra so no additional costs.

    You can't force them to complete a Transfer or to take on any additional costs so presumably you revert to the Adv P route and go from there. I'm sure your solicitor can advise on this though and it is their advice you should be taking here
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    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 17th Oct 16, 9:55 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Thank you Shaun from Africa, your reply is most helpful. The housing association's original letter to us states that they were aware of the boundary discrepancy prior to purchase and completion.
    Originally posted by Silver Shark
    The other side of that though is that I am wondering whether this is the first you knew that a bit of the land you thought was your garden isn't in actual fact.

    1. Did you know about this at the time you bought your house and crossed your fingers and hoped no-one would ever query it?

    2. Did you buy your house in total ignorance of the fence being in the wrong position - but found out at some point between purchase and the HA finding out? - and crossed your fingers.

    3. Was the HA notification to you of this the first time you knew that fence was wrongly positioned?

    But - even if it's no. 3 on the list and the news it wasnt yours came totally as an unexpected "bolt from the blue" - I still agree with the others actually that it would be quickest/easiest/cheapest (not to mention most moral) thing to do to just cover the HA costs that they are requesting and that way the land is officially/morally/etc yours and end of the matter.
    The unexamined life is not worth living.
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