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  • FIRST POST
    • jemz0001
    • By jemz0001 13th Mar 17, 3:33 PM
    • 80Posts
    • 166Thanks
    jemz0001
    Boundaries
    • #1
    • 13th Mar 17, 3:33 PM
    Boundaries 13th Mar 17 at 3:33 PM
    Hi

    we purchased and moved in to a house 3 years ago and this week the landlord of the neighbouring property approached me to tell me that a previous owner of the house, at least 20 years ago had taken a strip of land that belonged to his property and had tarmaced and fenced it with permission of a previous tennant.

    The landlord told me that he had approached the previous owner 11 years after this had taken place to make him aware that it was his land and that in the future if he were to sell his property or develop it he would be taking it back. He said he had sent a solicitors letter to the previous owners and they reaponded to acknowledge the letter.

    My query is where do we stand. We purchased the property as it sits via a solicitor who carried out all the searches etc and nothing was flagged up. This part of the property is tarmaced and fenced and our gates etc will need to be moved and will prevent car access down the side of our house...

    Where do we stand legally if he attempts to take this land back?

    Thanks in advance...
    Mortgage - 05/03/10
    £ 110,743.90 Aim to reduce mortgage to 105k by end of 2010

    Car loan - 05/03/10
    £5093.15 Aim to pay off car loan by end of 2010
Page 1
    • loveka
    • By loveka 13th Mar 17, 3:54 PM
    • 279 Posts
    • 297 Thanks
    loveka
    • #2
    • 13th Mar 17, 3:54 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Mar 17, 3:54 PM
    You may be able to claim adverse possession of the land as it has been part of your property for so long. This might be complicated by the letter that was sent. However, given he didn't physically take the land back you may be ok. Have a Google on the law of adverse possession.

    The garden law website and forum is very useful.

    From bitter, bitter experience boundary disputes are expensive, stressful and time consuming. They are best settled out of court if possible.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Mar 17, 4:13 PM
    • 38,492 Posts
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    G_M
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:13 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:13 PM
    What does the Title Plan to your property show? Where is the boundary? (£3 from here).

    What does the Title Plan to your neighbour's property show? Where is the boundary? (£3 from here).
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 13th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
    • 79 Posts
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    ProDave
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
    I believe the law of adverse possession requires you (or the previous owners) to have had the land uncontested for 10 years. If it was 11 years before he sent a letter, and you can prove it was 11 years I think you are safe.
    • nimbo
    • By nimbo 13th Mar 17, 5:42 PM
    • 3,106 Posts
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    nimbo
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:42 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:42 PM
    Also Does he still have the letter where the previous owner acknowledged his letter?

    I'm no help at all. But Good luck. And I hope it works out. ��

    Stashbuster - 2014 98/100 - 2015 175/200 - 2016 501 / 500 2017 - 3 / 500
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Mar 17, 5:48 PM
    • 38,492 Posts
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    G_M
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:48 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:48 PM
    I'd be surprised if a claim for adverse possession would succeed. By all means try, but let us know what happens when the Land Registry write to your neighbour.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

    Rely on the title plan. That's what you bought 3 years ago. That's what you own.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Mar 17, 5:51 PM
    • 12,010 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:51 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:51 PM
    Do you have contact details for the previous owner - in order to get in touch with them and state this has happened/get their verdict on whether they stole part of the garden (phrased somewhat differently to that) and ask what they propose to do about this?

    I know I would want to start by finding out whether this neighbour is telling the truth - though, I have to admit, my suspicion is that they are. If they're not telling the truth = no problem. If they are telling the truth = then I guess it equals they want you to buy their land off them and I would be finding out whether I could get the previous owner to pay for it (as you've bought the house in all innocence of what that previous owner got up to).
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 13th Mar 17, 6:11 PM
    • 21,644 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 17, 6:11 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 17, 6:11 PM
    Rely on the title plan. That's what you bought 3 years ago. That's what you own.
    Originally posted by G_M
    I agree. Check the plans for both properties before doing anything else.

    At some point in the purchase, before exchange, your solicitor should have asked you to check that the title plan matched the situation on the ground. You were the only party who could do that. If there was a discrepancy large enough to build a driveway, it's likely you would have noticed.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 13-03-2017 at 7:02 PM. Reason: tpyo
    I used to suffer with kleptomania, but now I take something for it.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 13th Mar 17, 6:15 PM
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    Cakeguts
    • #9
    • 13th Mar 17, 6:15 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Mar 17, 6:15 PM
    You have to remember that the solicitor didn't visit the property. All they had was the plan. They have done all the checks and searches using what was on the plan. If the land belonging to next door was not on the plan the only person who would have known this would have been you because you would have seen both the house and the plan. So what was on the plan?
    • loveka
    • By loveka 13th Mar 17, 7:03 PM
    • 279 Posts
    • 297 Thanks
    loveka
    The law says it is what you see 'on the ground' that you buy. The plan is not reliable because of scale etc.

    It is a total minefield though. Putting the law into practice is very hard. And prohibitively expensive in many cases.
    • Chanes
    • By Chanes 13th Mar 17, 7:33 PM
    • 782 Posts
    • 464 Thanks
    Chanes
    The law says it is what you see 'on the ground' that you buy. The plan is not reliable because of scale etc.

    It is a total minefield though. Putting the law into practice is very hard. And prohibitively expensive in many cases.
    Originally posted by loveka
    You have mentioned you have gone through a rough time about boundary issues and I have read other posts and seen news items about how insane boundary issues can get. I listen to other people's misery and thank them for giving me an inexpensive and painless lesson by avoiding a similar fate. I only hope the OP heeds your words and proceeds with them echoing in his mind if things get a bit tricky.
    • 3mph
    • By 3mph 13th Mar 17, 9:54 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 124 Thanks
    3mph
    I am a Chartered Land Surveyor and have spent my whole professional life refusing to have anything to do with boundary disputes. Any enquiries my staff pass onto others who specialise in it. I have seen costs escalate to ridiculous levels with no winners other than the professional advisors. There is nothing certain about boundaries other than the possibility of a huge legal bill.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 14th Mar 17, 5:19 AM
    • 21,644 Posts
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    Davesnave
    There is nothing certain about boundaries other than the possibility of a huge legal bill.
    Originally posted by 3mph
    Yes, but the context is important.

    If the disagreement is about whether a garden boundary is 20cm this way or that, there may be nothing to play for worth winning. However, in this case, its a whole driveway which has been claimed.

    Some years ago, when a relative of mine obtained planning permission, his neighbour used a false claim on a small part of the land in an attempt prevent development. It cost something like £6k to challenge the claim, and it might have cost more if the neighbour hadn't backed-down, but in the context of a new build, challenging the claim was worthwhile.
    I used to suffer with kleptomania, but now I take something for it.
  • Land Registry representative
    Legal advice required for sure around adverse possession. Key point likely to be the '11 years after.....' point as that reads as if the neighbour was flagging up the issue ahead of the 12 year period elapsing.

    As others have posted a successful claim can rely on such issues being uncontested and/or without the land owner's consent. In the case of the letter it may be viewed that the landowner was essentially telling the neighbour we know you have taken the land and whilst we are happy to leave as is we expect it back as and when....'

    A conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise on next steps/possible outcomes
    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Land Registry. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 14th Mar 17, 7:10 AM
    • 12,010 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    ..and I'm guessing the word you'd use in talking to that conveyancing solicitor is "misrepresentation".

    It does sound like the vendor knowingly misrepresented to you exactly what land you would own.

    I wonder if you can get a copy of those letters the landlord next door refers to - particularly one of the letter your vendor sent back to them acknowledging it's not their land? Could be valuable evidence.
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 14th Mar 17, 7:17 AM
    • 974 Posts
    • 1,499 Thanks
    Ozzuk
    As others have said, print off your deeds and their deeds. If I'm serious about a property then when viewing I print off the deeds and have the vendor confirm what is included - £3 can save a lot of headache later and I can walk away if something doesn't look right.

    People rely on their solicitors to catch everything - but they rarely view the property themselves so are reliant on what the vendor tells them and what the buyer reports back. Certainly sounds like the vendor misled you - did they say anything about the land and did you check the deeds?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 14th Mar 17, 7:22 AM
    • 21,644 Posts
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    Davesnave
    I think it would be better to wait for more input from the OP before speculating about adverse possession, or anything else.

    Something like a driveway should be easy enough to ID from the title plan.

    While I appreciate that few people might make claims like this neighbour without some good reason, my own experience teaches me that some people's memories and behaviour can, at best, be described as 'unreliable.'

    As for misrepresentation, that would depend on what the title plan shows too. If it clearly shows the driveway belonging to the neighbour, in what way would that have been misrepresented? Nothing else counts. Proving what someone may have said after years have elapsed will be a very uphill task!
    I used to suffer with kleptomania, but now I take something for it.
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