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  • FIRST POST
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 12:36 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    Use of land for 30 plus years..
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:36 PM
    Use of land for 30 plus years.. 16th Apr 19 at 12:36 PM
    Hopefully this is right place to ask..

    My FIL has used a piece of land at the end of his drive as a parking space for 30+ years, he always knew it as “no mans land” and cleared it of bramble to use. When the factory next door redid their fencing they even fenced avoiding this area of land.

    Now it has been demolished and purchased by a big housing company who have come round and started digging it up while he was out, when he got home he confronted them and was told they are building the sub station for the new houses there.

    My FIL seems to think as he has used it for so long they can’t now use it and has parked his car there so they can’t continue working.

    He doesn’t have any means to fight this via a solicitor, can anyone offer any advice?
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Page 1
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 16th Apr 19, 12:40 PM
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    Browntoa
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:40 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:40 PM
    I thought the land needed to be"enclosed" for it to become his. From your description it had never been enclosed
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    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 12:52 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:52 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:52 PM
    It has been cleared, tarmac laid and there is a fence to once side that separates if from the factory land (which they put up) and a small knee high red brick wall. So it is enclosed from the road, and looks like the rest of his drive with the same tarmac and stone walling.
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    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Apr 19, 12:57 PM
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    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:57 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:57 PM
    Even if he had been using it, if he didn't apply for the title to be trasferred to him, I don't think it automatically becomes his.

    I think he would have had to apply for title.

    It's possible that the actual owner would have to apply to have him evicted, at which point issues about timscales, whether or not he was using the land with the owenrs permission or not etc all become relvant.
    if he wants to contenst their use of the land then he is likely to need proper advice.

    If the land next to his house is being developed, did he not get notice when the planning permission was sought?
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 1:12 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:12 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:12 PM
    Yes he got a planning notice, but only for the houses and the plans showed then within the fenced area, there was nothing about the substation.

    There is one the other side of the fence to the land, so guess they’re just moving it back a few meters- never thought about planning but guess they should have it even to move an existing structure?

    I’ve advised professional help, but he doesn’t have the means to pay, and the developer when approached just said tell us who your solicitor is and we will speak to them, in quite an intimidating way, probably knowing full week he wouldn’t pursue it.
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    • SmashedAvacado
    • By SmashedAvacado 16th Apr 19, 1:13 PM
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    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:13 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:13 PM
    If he does want to claim ownership then he would do well to avoid saying things like "treated like no mans land" because to claim adverse possession you need to show use of the land as your own to the exclusion of others. If you use land in the belief that anyone can use it, i can't see how you can show that you have done that.
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
    He meant it was “no mans land” when he bought the house, as in no one used it it was overgrown and covered in rubbish. His memory isn’t great but he thinks either estate agent or neighbours told him it was his, where the toilet block for the house used to be, so he cleared it and took it back into his own boundaries, however he doesn’t have his deeds so I’m in the process of looking at land registry.
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    • Yellow_mango
    • By Yellow_mango 16th Apr 19, 1:56 PM
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    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:56 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:56 PM
    It sounds like he may have a case for adverse possession, but with a large company disputing this and no legal representation he may well have a hard time defending his position.

    Might it be worth speaking to a solicitor to see if his case is strong enough for them to take on on a no win no fee basis - if he wins the company will have to cover legal costs?
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 16th Apr 19, 2:02 PM
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    AdrianC
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:02 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:02 PM
    He probably could have applied for adverse possession - but if it's recently been registered in the developer's name, then he doesn't stand a hope. They can show that he hasn't had exclusive use for the last twelve years, because they've just dug it up...
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 6:21 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    Land registry confirms it does not form part of his boundary, however there is no plan for the former factory land, only a title register.

    When you search land aerial view rather than postcode and highlight the section it shows no results, which is also odd.

    I've also looked at the planning application online and the current fence position is on a line saying 'boundary', not including this land were referring to and there is nothing about the sub station either.
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    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 16th Apr 19, 6:36 PM
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    Lorian
    I've also looked at the planning application online and the current fence position is on a line saying 'boundary', not including this land were referring to and there is nothing about the sub station either.
    Originally posted by Brodiebobs
    If there is no planning permission on the land you need to ask the planning department to send an enforcement officer ASAP.

    IANAL but is it not also possible he could claim an easement by prescription over the parcel of land?#

    Check if he has legal cover on his house insurance policy.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 16th Apr 19, 7:39 PM
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    unforeseen
    Adverse possession may not be an option

    Central Midlands Estates Ltd v Leicester Dyers Ltd, 21 January, 2003 (High Court).

    The court held that a claim for adverse possession failed because on the evidence the defendant had failed to establish adverse possession for the requisite 12 years. In looking at the defendant's claim to have been in possession, the court held that regular car parking on the disputed land cannot of itself constitute factual possession of, or an intention to possess, the land. There has to be something more, such as an enclosure of the land and/or putting up car parking signs, to give some outward indication that the party in possession regarded the disputed land as its own.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 16th Apr 19, 8:07 PM
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    G_M
    He could make a claim for adverse possession. However


    * if the development company can show ownership of the plot, then they can, and would, object, and his application would be likely to fail.
    * as others have said, his claim is shaky anyway - 'no mans land'; car parking wihout signage; not fully enclosed; proof of treating it fully as his own property.


    But there is more here:


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land
    • babyblade41
    • By babyblade41 16th Apr 19, 8:32 PM
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    babyblade41
    Adverse possession is a very specialised law and not "i've used this for x amount of years with no problem"
    I doubt developers would have gone into this blind and will have had their legal beagles look at everything previously.

    If the plans show no building on this plot then I suggest he seeks advice of the professional kind
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 8:47 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    Thanks everyone.

    I think professional is the way forward, but doesn’t sound like he has much chance. I’ve emailed the planning dept and asked for details of the plans and that I can’t see the planned sub station on the application to see what they say.

    I’ll tell him to make enquiries of his home insurance, thanks for this we hadn’t thought of that.
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    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 16th Apr 19, 8:47 PM
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    getmore4less
    Check the planning application for the substation.
    • Brodiebobs
    • By Brodiebobs 16th Apr 19, 8:53 PM
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    Brodiebobs
    And to clarify it is enclosed, the previous factory fence at their side, then he has surfaced it the same as the rest of his driveway, with a knee high wall separating it from the road at the opposite side the the fence.

    You can’t access the land without opening his gates and crossing his driveway. So unless they removed their fence they couldn’t access from their own side, and had used his driveway to get onto it.
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  • Land Registry
    Most have covered it in their replies and linked you to the relevant Practice Guide.
    Have a look at PG 52 re the prescriptive (claimed) easement also just in case that needs to be considered as well. If he's not got a legal claim as to ownership he may have acquired a right of way over it?

    The law is a very complex one as also posted. And any claim starts with that rather than can it be registered.

    The title plan for the developer's land is most probably not available online as it is too large (file size) so if you want a copy then you can apply for one by post

    Worth checking to confirm the land is in their title/registered as that impacts in the registration process
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