you have used a piece of land and treated it as your own for 10 years or more
if registered at the land Registry to someone other than you (or 12 years if
unregistered) and you have done it without objection and without permission and
not in secret, you are entitled to apply to the land registry to have it
registered as yours under the doctrine of adverse possession.
Land Registry have produced a leaflet (actually it is a booklet) which is
available online and in hard copy (or at least, it used to be available in hard
copy). Here is the one on unregistered land http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/professional/guides/practice-guide-5
here is the one on registered land
apply to the land registry on form ADV1 along with supporting witness
statements and evidence of occupation. Unless you have independent witness
statements, it is extremely difficult to prove that you have occupied a piece
of land for 10/12 years unless, 10/12 years ago, you took something which would
prove that you were moving onto it. Independent statements from neighbours can
be extremely useful in this respect.
your application for adverse possession is going to be at all successful you
are going to have to come up with that evidence. The land registry will write
to the registered owner to see whether they have any objections which, of
course, they will have. It is worth me mentioning that they cannot simply
object because they do not like it. They can only object on the basis that you
have not occupied the land for the relevant period.
are not completely accurate with the fence issue. The fence issue helps to
prove that you have treated it as your own to the exclusion of all others and
not shared it with anyone but it is not essential in itself.
the neighbour objects and you haven't got absolute proof of occupation or they
come up with some kind of consent that was alleged to be given to you, the
matter would end up in front of the land tribunal. If this goes to a land
tribunal hearing and you lose that tribunal for any reason, you could face
legal costs of £10,000 payable to the developer. If you win on the other hand
you would get costs in your favour awarded against the developer. It depends
therefore on how much the land is worth to you and how valuable it is to you.
think it is one of those where you would just make the point rather than argue
it based upon the fact you have given
may have more money to argue over this and risk than you do but that decision
is yours now that you know the legal situation.
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