New Post Advanced Search

Claiming land

16 replies 1.1K views
We bought our house in November 2019 and have just discovered that a chunk of land behind our garage is legally ours, even though the neighbour had fenced it in and claims it has been his for 18 years. 
Land Registry shows that it is legally ours but if he has used the land as his own for 18 years (supposedly- the houses were only built 16 years ago!!) then can he just have it? 
What happens to our mortgage because presumably our house value could change? Who pays for land registry fees to change it over? Is that even possible? Any help or advice would be greatly received. Thanks
«1

Replies

  • Ted_HeadTed_Head Forumite
    866 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭
    No. If it's legally yours it is legally yours - check your deeds.

    What has the neighbour fenced it in - what do you mean?
    Your mortgage shouldn't change.

    If it's on your deeds why would you need to change the land registry?

    I find the post confusing.

  • trindytrindy Forumite
    4 posts
    First Post
    The deeds show that it is ours but adverse possession states that he can claim as his if he has maintained it for more than ten years, which apparently he has.
    But if he can now legally claim this land as his because he has used it for more than ten years but our mortgage shows that we own that additional land, would it not reduce the value of our house?
  • edited 23 June at 6:20PM
    HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
    2.8K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 23 June at 6:20PM
    Would suggest you talk to your solicitor. If neighbour wants to or is eventually entitled to register. They pay fees. 
    Some info below from a solicitors site, but at end of day would think it depends on any court decision? Keep looking at your post as there will be someone more up to date with legalities along shortly.


    "Adverse possession (commonly known as “squatter’s rights”) is continuously using land which is owned by someone else, as your own for a period of time, and then applying to be registered as the legal owner of the land.

    The land must be used exclusively by you without any objection from the owner of the land. If the land is not already registered at the Land Registry, you can apply to be the legal owner of the land after 12 years. If the land is registered, then you can apply to be registered after 10 years of using the land. 

    For a successful adverse possession claim, and to be registered as the owner of the land, one of the elements which has to be proven, is that you have been in physical possession of the land.

    One of the best ways to prove you have physical possession of the land is to fence off or otherwise enclose the land. However, in the recent case of Thorpe v Frank 2019 EWCA Civ 150, the Court of Appeal seemed to suggest that this is no longer an essential precondition to making a claim for adverse possession, as the court decided the act of laying paving slabs on the ground was sufficient evidence to show physical possession of the land which gave the person the ability to be registered as the legal owner.

    In Thorpe v Frank, Mrs Thorpe had paved a triangular plot of land in approximately 1986 and regularly parked her car on the land. The land however, was actually owned by her neighbours, Mr and Mrs Frank. The dispute arose when Mrs Thorpe placed a fence over the land. Mrs Thorpe stated she regularly power washed the area, picked up litter from it and removed weeds which grew there. She also stated she had not had any objections to using the land from Mr and Mrs Frank during their ownership of the Property from 2012, nor from the previous owners.

    The previous owners included Mrs Frank’s Mother, who owned the property from 1995 to 2012 before giving it to Mr and Mrs Frank in 2012. Mr and Mrs Frank claimed Mrs Thorpe did not have exclusive use of the land as they had regularly driven over the land, including before they owned their property when they visited Mrs Frank’s Mother. The Court of Appeal held although the fencing of the land was a clear way to show possession, the fact Mrs Thorpe had taken up the old surface, dug the land up, put down hardcore and laid slabs, were the typical actions of an owner of the land, which interfered with the Mr and Mrs Frank’s (and the previous owners before them), ownership of the land. Therefore, Mrs Thorpe was entitled to be registered as the true owner of the land.

    This case demonstrates that the lack of fencing or enclosing over an area of land specifically will not prevent a claim for adverse possession. This decision could potentially mean more cases being able to make a successful claim for adverse possession, provided the person making the application is still able to prove they have acted in a way typical of an owner of the land" 


    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • trindytrindy Forumite
    4 posts
    First Post
    Thank you for that. I think he will end up being the legal owner because he claims he has been using it for years. My only worry is that we will have to pay out for something that we didn’t even know was ours until last week! 
  • HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
    2.8K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Claims is only a claim, not usually an entitlement. Speak to your solicitor. I believe the law has changed over the years regards this?

    You will eventually get better advice on here, but suspect it will have to be the legal route? Personally I would fight this, but that's me LOL. 
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • greatcrestedgreatcrested Forumite
    2.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Has he made a claim for adverse possession?
    If yes, has the Land Registry contacted you about it?
    If yes, have you disputed his claim?
    If no claim made yet, then remove his fencing and take possession of your land. In the interests of avoiding excessive breakdown in relations, I'd suggest talking to your neighbour first in a polite and reasonable way, with a copy of your Title Plan to hand. But be firm about the fact that the land is yours.
    If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link.

  • MoneySeeker1MoneySeeker1 Forumite
    863 posts
    500 Posts Name Dropper First Anniversary
    ✭✭✭
    Has he made a claim for adverse possession?
    If yes, has the Land Registry contacted you about it?
    If yes, have you disputed his claim?
    If no claim made yet, then remove his fencing and take possession of your land. In the interests of avoiding excessive breakdown in relations, I'd suggest talking to your neighbour first in a polite and reasonable way, with a copy of your Title Plan to hand. But be firm about the fact that the land is yours.
    If you are absolutely 101% sure it is your land - then I wouldn't talk to the neighbour first (after all "forewarned is forearmed").

    I'd just take the suggestion about removing the fence and generally take full possession of your land.

    Fingers crossed he hasn't got as far as "registering" it and it's not down officially as belonging to the wrong person (ie him).

    There are trolls around - unfortunately - but I wait for them to go off and "self combust" or have a go at someone else to fulfil their hobby they have - rather than doing "feed the trolls".

    Please bear in mind these people exist - and take it into account.



  • runningmanrunningman Forumite
    4 posts
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    So... you bought the house six months ago, and didn't think the land belonged to you.

    Now,  you want the land that you didn't think belonged to you. 

    Whatever the rights and wrongs, if I was you, I'd think about the stress and expense of neighbour disputes, and let sleeping dogs lie.

  • princeofpoundsprinceofpounds Forumite
    8.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    The adverse possession rules were changed quite a few years ago. I'm afraid I never did re-educate myself, so I can't speak with any authority, but I understand it has made it much harder to actually claim adverse possession of registered land and get your title. 

    https://www.bdbpitmans.com/insights/the-challenge-of-adverse-possession-of-registered-land/
    https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2020/how-to-deal-with-adverse-possession/

    I think you can just go and interrupt his occupation if you are sure the land is yours. But may be worth getting advice first. 
  • eidandeidand Forumite
    533 posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    I would definitely talk to a solicitor but if i was sure that's my land, I would knock his fence down and chuck it back on his land with no second thought. if he dares try anything I'd call the police
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support