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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69361
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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How can I find an expert to help me with Land Registration.

Customer Question

How can I find an expert to help me with Land Registration. the piece of land is at the rear of my property and has always been referred to as having "free use" by the three terraced properties that back onto it. The middle terrace owner has now registered half of this land, and has "assumed" ownership of all of it. He is not easy to talk to, he prefers to speak with his fists!

Babs
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Where is this land referred to as having "free use"?

On what basis has the middle owner registered half of the land.

Has he had possession of it or used it as his own?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This land is in Essex, the properties are 700 years old and an old farm house which was sold at auction in the early 70's. The three properties with small back gardens were registered in 1977, but not the large piece of land which crosses at the rear. One of the previous owners of my cottage, and several neighbours state that all previous occupiers had shared this land. The owner of the middle terrace bought his property in 1998 and also the possessory title of half of the extra piece of land. he acquired full title earlier this year. He has blocked a ROW (but thats a different problem) he has also physically assaulted my partner for trespass, even though he does not own the land that the ROW crosses. The piece of land at the rear of the property has not registered title, I have checked with Land Registry, however, this neighbour has threatened us and said the land is his. We would like to check if


A) he can legally stop us using it,


B) Can we register at least some of this land ourselves


 


He does cut the grass on this land, and we were advised to cut it ourselves, but this neighbour is fanatical and actually cuts the lawn every single evening!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This land is in Essex, the properties are 700 years old and an old farm house which was sold at auction in the early 70's. The three properties with small back gardens were registered in 1977, but not the large piece of land which crosses at the rear. One of the previous owners of my cottage, and several neighbours state that all previous occupiers had shared this land. The owner of the middle terrace bought his property in 1998 and also the possessory title of half of the extra piece of land. he acquired full title earlier this year. He has blocked a ROW (but thats a different problem) he has also physically assaulted my partner for trespass, even though he does not own the land that the ROW crosses. The piece of land at the rear of the property has no registered title, I have checked with Land Registry, however, this neighbour has threatened us and said the land is his. We would like to check if


A) he can legally stop us using it,


B) Can we register at least some of this land ourselves


 


He does cut the grass on this land, and we were advised to cut it ourselves, but this neighbour is fanatical and actually cuts the lawn every single evening!

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
Please confirm that nothing is written down anywhere that there is the right to use this land.
Who uses the half of land which is not registered?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As far as we are aware there is nothing written down, it is all word of mouth passed down to subsequent tenants/occupiers. The unregistered parcel of land is used by the owner of No. 2 to cut the grass only. The owners of No. 1 used to use it but are now too old to bother with it. We have only recently learnt of the original intent for joint use of this land. Our previous occupier was elderly and moved into a care home and the verbal use of this land was not passed to us at that time. (About 8 years ago)


 


If we should now try to use this land, is the owner of No. 2 entitled to threaten us and try to keep us off it, even tho he did not register this piece of land when he "possessed" the other half of it? The owner of No.1 (who is not the tenant) - was the original purchase back in the early 70's when the property was bought at auction. Is it likely that he still "owns" the land, or would the title have passed verbally?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
I can tell you what is happening and that is that the neighbour with the half registered is trying to gain possession of the rest of it by adverse possession.
To do that he has to occupy the land and be able to exclude other people however he cannot exclude them by force or by intimidation
His threats are a police matter. And you should immediately report back to the police.
You should see a solicitor (although there is no legal reason why you cannot do this yourself it is much more powerful from a solicitor) who can write to the aggressive neighbour saying that you object to his occupation of the land and that any decides to make an application to the land registry for Adverse Possession this correspondence will be produced to the Registry.
If the land is unregistered now the solicitor can put a caution against first registration at the land registry to prevent it being registered without you being advised. At that stage, you will be able to object to the registration.
It appears that the unregistered piece of land has been used by various people over the period and therefore no one has had exclusive use of it for 12 years and therefore no one can claim adverse possession.
If the neighbour managed to exclude you for 12 years he can then claim adverse possession of the land. Mowing the grass is sufficient to prove occupation and I would imagine you has photographs and diary notes on when he started doing it and every time he has done it.
So, whilst it seems that you are not able to apply to have it registered as yours with adverse possession neither is he but you do need to start occupying it and objecting to his use of it in order to defeat is eventual claim for adverse possession.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very helpful, my current solicitor has not suggested any of this, I will get him to do so. Also the physical assault was 8 weeks ago and although we contacted police at the time and have subsequently chased this up, so far they have done absolutely nothing, we believe this leads the neighbour to believe he can get away with it.


Anyway thanks for advice

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Certainly follow it up with the police and it necessary right to the chief Constable about the apparent lack of action.
The police should have had a word with the neighbour even if he does not get charged which to be honest is going to be unlikely

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