How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Aston Lawyer Your Own Question
Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10893
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Aston Lawyer is online now

I have owned a commercial property ( old factory) since 2003.

This answer was rated:

I have owned a commercial property ( old factory) since 2003. I am planning on demolishing the property to build some houses.

There is a very small piece of land at the rear of the land which we have used since 2003. Its very small , big enough to park say a few cars.

When we purchased the property back in 2003 the land registry records showed there were no owes for this land.

However, we recently did a further search and it now appears the land is owned by a company and that they had bought this land in 1982.

We have carried out a search at companies house and a company of that name exist but was formed in 1985. I have spoken to the director of this company who has no knowledge of this land and is categoric in his answer.

It appears that the original company who owned the land no longer exists.

It is quite possible the original company who owned both the land and the property sold out but forgot to transfer the land as it has a separate title deed.

So we have a problem as we need this land to build on as it will be part of the rear garden.

The land itself has restriction in that no building can be built on.

Can anyone help with this problem please ?
Hi there,

Thanks for your enquiry.

Well, you have 2 options-

1. You either purchase the land off the legal owners, which may be problematic and even if you were able to agree, they may charge a small fortune if they know you are going to redevelop.

2. You can apply to the Land Registry for "possessory title" of the land. Basically, if someone possesses land which they do not own for a continuous period of 10 years, without interruption or with express consent of the legal owner, that party can apply to the Land Registry for possessory title. Luckily, it appears that you have done this for over 10 years, and I would therefore suggest that you contact a local Conveyancing Solicitor to get the ball rolling.

As regards XXXXX XXXXX on the Deeds, I'm not sure if you mean that this covenant is on the land you wish to acquire or on your existing factory site. Either way, the covenant may or may not be enforceable depending on who imposed the covenant. Even if it is enforceable (and it related only to the land you want to acquire) if you were only going to use the land as garden, you would not be breaching the covenant.

If the covenant applies to your existing factory site, and it is enforceable, you have slightly more of an issue- depending on what your Solicitor advises, you could apply for consent to build (which may mean you forking out a lot of money to obtain consent) or you can take out what is called an indemnity policy, which basically acts as an insurance policy so that if the re-development was disputed by the party with the benefit of the covenant, you would be covered in defending such an action. Your Solicitor will be able to guide you on this.

I hope this sets out the legal position to you.

Kind Regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Al,


Thank you for your prompt reply.


Option is out of the question as the legal owner ( " The Company") no longer exist.


Option i am aware of in terms of possessory title. However, my understating is possessory one can only apply for possessory if the land had no legal owners. In this case land registry record clearly show there is a legal owner, be it the company does not exist. The land has been fenced and we have has it since 2003.


In terms of the restrictive covenant that is not a big issue as that land will be only used as a garden.


The problem is trying to obtain a title.


Are there any precedents / case laws I could rely on ?


Hi Nazir,

Thanks for your reply.

As regards XXXXX XXXXX applications, these can certainly be made even if the Land is registered. What happens in such circumstances is that the Land Registry would serve Notice on the address they have for the registered owner. On the basis that the Company does not exist anymore, the Land Registry will of course get no response from them, and your application can then proceed to completion.

I hope this assists.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi All ,


Many thanks for the prompt response once again.


May I ask you are absolutely certain about that?


As no one has advised me on that including my own solicitor.


So if I am to understand you correctly:


1) I make an application for possessory title on the grounds that we have been using the land since 2003


2) Land registry would write to the legal owners who in this case are a ceased company


3) If no response is received we would then be successful in our application for this land


What period would land registry give the legal owners to respond ?


Does the said land have to be fenced ? As we have never fenced it as it is in daily use.

Hi Nazir,

I am certain. I made such an application only last week!

I set out at the end of this reply an extract from the Land Registry Practice Guide 4 (if you go on the Land Registry website. Click on tab "Professional" and then click on "Practice Guides" you will find the full info.

It is always best that the land be fenced in (you said in a previous reply that it is fenced) and hence form part of your existing building, but applications can still be successful without fencing if you make the declaration on the application that you have possessed it for 10 years without interference and it is clear that no-one else has been using it.
The Land Registry will indeed serve Notice on the defunct Company's registered address and will give them 65 business days to respond. As you will see from the extract below, if no response is received, your application can then proceed.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards

Land Registry Practice Guide 4-

The LRA 2002 has created a new regime that applies only to registered land. This new regime is set out in Schedule 6 to the Act. It makes it more likely that a registered proprietor will be able to prevent an application for adverse possession of their land being completed. The following paragraphs provide a brief overview of the new regime; the remaining sections of this guide discuss it in more detail. Adverse possession of registered land for 12 years of itself will no longer affect the registered proprietor’s title. After 10 years’ adverse possession, the squatter will be entitled to apply to be registered as proprietor in place of the registered proprietor of the land. On such an application being made the registered proprietor (and certain other persons interested in the land) will be notified and given the opportunity to oppose the application. If the application is not opposed1, the squatter will be registered as proprietor in place of the registered proprietor of the land. - See more at:
Aston Lawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Many many thanks for the absolute clarity and excellent advice.




Thanks Naz.

I hope I have been a help to you.

Kind Regards