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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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There is a piece of land in front of my neighbours garden

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There is a piece of land in front of my neighbour's garden next to the ditch along the highway. He has now fenced it in completely and it is now part of his garden. Can he legally claim this piece of land?

How long has he fenced it for please?

Who is the freehold owner of the land?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think he has fenced it in for around 10 years.


Because it is common land next to a ditch along the pavement next to the highway, I would guess it belongs or belonged to the County Council.


Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

The answer is “possibly”.

In order to claim it he would have to prove what is termed “adverse possession” to the Land Registry in order to have it registered in your name.

If the land in question is unregistered then you must have been using it continuously for 12 years in order to claim possession of it and be registered as the registered proprietor at the Land Registry

If the land is registered then you need only have been using it continuously for 10 years in order to apply for adverse possession at the Land Registry. Notice of the application will be sent to the current registered proprietor of the land, who is obviously at liberty to object. It is therefore more difficult to claim adverse possession of land that is registered

If you do not know whether the land is registered then you can check using the Land Registry's online service by downloading a copy of the register of the title (if any) for the property(it may be that the land forms part of one of the registered titles of the properties which it adjoins):-

If this does not illicit results then you should send a index map search to the Land Registry by using Form SIM (enclosing a map of the area), they will then tell you definitively if it is registered. You can also download that form from the LR website.

You can then alert the owner of the land and advise them of what he has done and they can consider whether to take action or not.

The important thing to note is that he does not automatically have the land registered in his own name, he has to prove his case by applying to the Land Registry and the freeholder would be free to defend it.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.

Kind regards,

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