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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3692
Experience:  Two years conveyancing experience.
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There Can a neighbour claim land registered to my property

Resolved Question:

Hi there
Can a neighbour claim land registered to my property as shown on mine and their title plans under adverse possession ? I bought my property last March and as soon as I moved in and realised they were occupying a small bit of my garden with a few belongings I asked them to remove them and evicted them. I now find myself facing a legal battle as they say they can legally just have it although I never let them use it whilst I've owned my house. My drains, windows etc are on that ground also.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. To claim adverse possession they would need to prove they occupied the land for 12 years or more and did not have the consent of the person that owned the land. How long have they lived in the property? I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi AJ, thanks for your reply.
12 years or more under my ownership or collectively between me and my predecessor? They have used for 12 years plus under the owner before I bought it last March. During that time my predecessor did not give them consent, he says he thought it was theirs already despite the fact he in 1986 blocked up the back door of my (his previous home) that led onto it and that the drains and windows etc of this house are on there. I believe he was too afraid to ask them to remove their various possessions and that they knew it always belonged to my home.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, Thank you. Have they submitted an application for adverse possession? What you ideally need is the previous owner to support you and confirm that they did consent to the belongings being - you can prove that they had consent to occupy the property with their possessions then this should defeat a claim for adverse possession. Are you in contract with the previous owner?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yep they have and I have objected to it. They have said they reasonably but mistakely believed it was theirs and always treated it as such. My predecessor has written a statement for them saying he did not believe it to be his and thought of it as theirs until the time of sale to me as he had to register it the boundaries and realised that via the LR and next doors title plan he did own that piece of ground.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just to clarify then also years usage can be acquired between ownerships?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Did you successfully register the boundary as your own? The parcel of land now registered as yours?
The period of occupation is not relevant to the owners of the land, it is only relevant to the occupiers.
Was their application more than a year after you registered the boundary?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My predecessor successfully registered it as his, now mine yes. He followed the registered plan with the land registry to do so. The parcel of land is registered as belonging to me.The occupiers thing is crazy? As soon as I moved in I said off etc as they'd built a little shed on top of my drains and I couldn't get into my own drain. When I suggested we talk about it they slammed the door in my face after screaming speak to our solicitors, I've had letters from their solicitor ever since saying I have to give it to them.Their application was a year after it was registered to my home. It was always registered though on their title plan since they bought their house in 1991 as not belonging to them.They lied re a window that is on that land and belongs to me (my downstairs wc), they said it used to be a brick wall without a window and upon return from their holiday one year my predecessor had Installed a window. The window replaced the back door that was blocked up in 87 leading to the land years before they bought their house.So is it as black and white as they always used it so now they can legally have it? I fenced it off last August and they've not been on it since.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The rules on this are pretty clear cut, their application should be rejected if you object, unless one of the follow grounds apply:
- it would be unconscionable because of an equity by estoppel for the registered proprietor to seek to dispossess the squatter and the squatter ought in the circumstances to be registered as proprietor;
- the squatter is for some other reason entitled to be registered as proprietor
- the squatter has been in adverse possession of land adjacent to their own under the mistaken but reasonable belief that they are the owner of it, the exact line of the boundary with this adjacent land has not been determined and the estate to which the application relates was registered more than a year prior to the date of the application.
Even if one of these grounds apply they still might not gain possession, they had to have exclusive possession for the period involved. Presumably the previous owner could have entered this portion of land whenever he wished?
Does your solicitor still have the files on your purchase? Can you get the solicitor to confirm your objection to the application and that your land is correctly registered?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, yes they have applied to LR to transfer the title using the 3rd rule you mention, however I can't see how they can say that they were unaware that it did not belong to them when their title plan clearly shows it as belonging to my property when they purchased theirs in 1991?My predesscor requested permission to access it via their property when needed as he blocked up the back door of my cottage and therefore the only access to it from my property back in 1986.He registered the land as shown on the neighbours title plan in 2013 when he put the house on the market.Thanks
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Your objection should hinge on the fact that these people new they were occupying property that did not belong to them and are only doing this because steps were taken to register the property as part of your demise.
Clearly they were not given any equitable expectation that they should own the property and have not had access since 2013. The burden is on them, as currently you are the legal owner, so I think you need to make your lodge a written objection.
What does your objection actually say?
Kind regards
AJ
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