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Hello. I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
Do you know when the fence was removed? Also did your sellers say anything about this space and any agreement with the neighbour about it when you purchased?
The fence was removed prior to my neighbour purchasing his property in 1993. The only (verbal) agreement we have had with the neighbour over it was shortly after we moved in and he asked us for access to an oil tank that supplies his property. Nothing was mentioned by our sellers and our solicitors may have mentioned the area as marked out on the deeds, but this was 10 years ago. It has never been a problem until recently when the neighbour is looking to extend his house and the architect said it would be a problem if we owned the land. The neighbour has asked that we reinstate the fence when we come to sell in effect re-enforcing his view of ownership.
I've just looked at the the official deeds as held by the land registry as I realised I have only got copies from the surveys we had done, etc Unfortunately these show the boundary as straight where the original fence was (even though the fence is not shown on them), however my original question still remains am I able to claim adverse possesion over the land?
The boundaries shown on the title plan and HMLR are not definitive. Adverse possession may well apply. As this is land at the boundary of your land slightly different rules to usual will apply. If you have been in adverse possession for more than 10 years ( as you and your predecessors in title have) and you reasonably believe the land is yours then yo shod be able to successfully claim the land as yours.
How does having a boundary make a difference to claiming? It seems that as I can't prove the 12 years occured before 2002, then the new rules apply to claiming and if I were to make a claim my neighbour would be come aware and reinstate his claim formally. Thanks
There is a special provision in LRA 2002 sched 6 para 5 re boundaries. It is intended to make it easier to register boundary encroachments. If (as here) the squatted land lies next to other land that belongs to the squatter, has been in the squatter's adverse possession and for the last 10 years of that the squatter reasonably believed that the land was his, then the claimed land should be registered on the squatter's 1st application, despite the registered proprietor of the land serving a notice of objection. There must not have been a determination of the boundary before and it must be registered land.