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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10352
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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hi Aston great advice, what I thought. To follow up , given

Resolved Question:

hi Aston great advice, what I thought.
To follow up , given time We'd go for adverse poss. but this could possibly cock up our sale. We would also feel bad about upsetting our neighbour whose husband is in a long term home. She has been very reasonable about the situation but neither side has had the adverse possession situation explained. If I, with no legal education discovered it, why weren't her legal eagles on to it?
The situation is particular galling when we realise the same legal firm did the conveyancing 20 odd years ago and failed to find it, and are the ones who now are telling us we are the ones benefitting from their original error.
Since contacting you I have met with the local estate agent who dealt with the previous 2 sales of this property. Looking through his file for me he could find no trace of any queries made in this respect. I would say it all relates back to the sale of the Neighbouring property in about 1990
What remedial steps may exist now and in the future if we have to meet costs we did not incur.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

Thanks for getting back in touch.

I really can't give you an answer as to why this issue hasn't been picked up before.
Although it should have been picked up by one or more Solicitors, the situation is what it is, and any costs involved in rectifying the position would be the same whether it is dealt with now or had it been discovered 5 or 15 years ago.
As regards ***** ***** was not picked up at the time of your purchase, all I can say is that it is good practice for a Buyers Solicitor to show their client a Plan of the property to be purchased and ask the client to confirm that the boundaries on the Plan accord with the boundaries on the ground. I'm sure you probably can't remember whether or not this was done by your Solicitor. If it was not, you could therefore ask- has my Solicitor been negligent? The answer would be yes, but as your Purchase was 11 years ago, you may find it hard to "sue" him at this late stage. If you were to sue, then you would be entitled to be put into the position you should have been had the problem been rectified at the time of your Purchase. In simple terms, this would equate to the costs involved in you applying for possessory title at the Land Registry (approx. £500 in legal fees I would say).
As regards ***** ***** Solicitor, I'm afraid that although he may have been at fault when acting for your neighbour, but that is a matter between them and has no direct bearing or influence on the situation you find yourselves in- the only person you potentially have a claim against is your own Solicitor.

So, what to do next?
The easiest and best solution would be for you to apply for possessory title or as your neighbour to transfer the land to you. I note you may not want to burden your neighbour with this. However, until either option I pursued, this issue will remain.
It really depends on how your Buyer sees it- I'm sure they will be advised by their Solicitor to get the issue resolved before they complete their Purchase and this would be sound advice.
If, and I say "if", your Buyer is happy, the alternative is for you to swear a simple Statutory Declaration to confirm that the land has been in your possession for over 10 years, and this Declaration can then be used by your Buyer when and if they apply for possessory title at some stage after they have purchased your property.

Ideally, if you can get your neighbour to agree to perhaps transfer the land to you, which document would be prepared by your Solicitor, and would just involve 1 signature by your neighbour and the matter would be resolved. I note however that her husband is in long term care, and if he is a joint owner of their property, then he would need to sign the document too.

I hope this sets out the legal position to you.

Kind Regards
AL
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10352
Experience: LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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