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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10972
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Our land abuts a farm with a boundary ditch belonging to farm

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Our land abuts a farm with a boundary ditch belonging to farm on our side of dividing hedge. We have lived here for 37 years and with the farmers permission we have piped the ditch and filled it in and have used the land for over 35 years. we have a garden shed and compost areas on the land. We now hear that a developer has put in plans for 110 houses on the farmland immediately behind us. I am sure I once read that if we have been using the land for a long time then we can claim it as ours. Is this true? or are we about to lose a 145 x 6ft strip to the developer. What can we do to stop them pulling out the hedge and moving into our side?
1. The only basis on which you can claim ownership would be on the basis of adverse possession or squatter's rights, as it is known to the layperson. However, in order to be able to claim adverse possession, you would have needed to have used this land without the permission of the adjoining farmer since you filled in the and piped the ditch. Once you were merely doing it with his permission, then you cannot claim adverse possession, as adverse possession requires an intention to possess the land to the exclusion of all others, including the rightful owner, here your adjoining neighbour. You or your predecessors in title needed to intend to remove the title of your neighbouring owner, not merely to use the land and to farm it. That is not enough.2. The second point you should be aware of, is that nowadays, if this is registered land, it is almost impossible to claim adverse possession as the written title is sacrosanct. Unless you have the registered title, you have no title at all. This rule changed in 2001 and since then, adverse possession claims to registered land have disappeared. Here, you would have to go back 12 years beyond 2001 if you were to maintain any claim to adverse possession. It would also require some positive act, such as putting this neighbouring farmer off the 145 x 6ft strip.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the prompt reply. It would appear that the boundary line marked up on the proposed plan is on the farm side of the hedge so if (and that is the unknown if at present), the final plan stays that way the problem may not arise, only time will tell. For the present there is not much we can do other than marshalling our neighbours and awaiting the paperwork that is supposedly coming out to us. I may be back but for the moment thank you again.



3. Dear *****e, with any luck the issue might not arise. As Mark Twain said "I have had a life full of troubles, most of which never happened!". Please RATE the Answer, as unless you Rate the answer, your Expert receives no part of the monies you had paid the website, so there is no incentive to answer any further questions.