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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10401
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I moved into my end of terrace house (2 bedroom) in 2006.

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I moved into my end of terrace house (2 bedroom) in 2006. the land next to me was a plot of barren scrub land. A shed was on this land on my boundary, with electric being supplied from my house and the entrance to the shed on my side. The ex owner informed me that the shed was part of my property, and had been there for many years.
The council are now in touch saying that my shed is encroaching on their land, which people have now started to use as allotments, and are asking me to remove it or they will.
I am 68 years old, and have to work to supplement my pension.
Can you tell me, if I have any rights at all in this situation?
I would be gratefull for some help.

Do you know how long the shed has been there for?

Is there a problem simply moving it back and replacing the fence?

If the shed has been on adjoining land owned by a private individual for 10 years of the land is registered at the land Registry or 12 years the property is not registered at the land Registry then you can apply to the land Registry to have the land registered as yours on the doctrine of adverse possession. You would need of the length of time that the shed had been there and that you had exclusive use of it, this latter point of being not difficult to prove.

Then, you would be entitled to have the land on which the shed rests registered in your name with possessory title.

However if the adjoining land is not owned by a private individual but by the local authority, the period goes up from 10/12 years to 30 years. Land owned by the local authority is land owned by the government which is deemed to be Crown land.

You would therefore need to prove that the shed had been in place for over 30 years before you could claim the land. If the local authority decided they wanted to oppose that because you had no proof, it could be an expensive battle at the land tribunal costing several thousands of pounds even though you may ultimately win.

At this stage your best option is probably to move the shed although you cannot be compelled to replace the fence .

You may have a claim against the seller of the property if this land is particularly desirable valuable to you if as part of your precontract enquiries, it was stated that you owned this part of land. It seems unlikely that would be the case because otherwise it would be outlined in red on the land Registry title plan which the solicitor would have sent to you to confirm the extent of the area that you were buying.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes


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