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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10776
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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Next to my fence is unregistered land left over from the Housing

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Next to my fence is unregistered land left over from the Housing Association (now defunct) that left these small pieces of land after the houses were built in 1960. Since I came into the property the fence has been there, the original fence and its replacements. I have used the same iron posts. Now the council is telling me that my fence is outside the line of where it should be. Their trees have fallen on my land destroying my fence, garden and and patio furniture. They (the District Council) are refusing to accept ownership of the trees claiming the land is unregistered, yet when I tried to claim part of it, about ten years ago, they refused me permission to erect a fence because it was "amenity land" owned by the council. All the other end of terrace houses in this road have been extended without the Council having given permission. Now they are trying to say that land which I have owned for 23 years is not mine but it is not theirs either. What is the law on unregistered land, please and what the District Council can do?
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Just so I am 100% straight, could you confirm that the land which is "unregistered" is indeed land on your side of the boundary fence (ie it is within your garden and has been for 23 years)?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, and this is the first time the Council has raised this issue, so not since 1990 when I bought the house. The land on the other side of the fence where the trees are is also unregistered, despite what they told me when they refused me permission to fence off some of it as an enlarged garden. I thought the law was that if you took care of a piece of unregistered land for more than 12 years you could legally claim it.

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for your reply.

You are indeed correct- the law is that if someone possesses unregistered land for 12 years or more, then that party can make an application to the Land Registry under the adverse possession law for possessory title of the land.
Provided, therefore, that the land in question has been within the boundaries of your garden for 12 years, you are entitled to make such an application.

I really don't know why the Council are disputing the position. They are either ignorant or clutching at straws.

I therefore suggest that you speak to a local Conveyancing Solicitor to assist you with the appropriate Land Registry application. The Land Registry Surveyor will come and view the land, once your application has been submitted, and provided the land is fenced in, you will be successful.
You will then be granted "possessory title" of the land, which means the Land Registry acknowledge that you are not the true paper legal owner of the land, but that you have gained title through possession. You will be entitled to apply to become "absolute title owner" 10 years after you have been registered with possessory title.

I hope this assists you and answers your question.

Kind Regards
Aston Lawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your help, Al. I cannot use a solicitor because I am on pension credits and have very little cash for this. The Council is reluctant to own up to the trees being their responsibility because then they will be liable to pay for everything that was destroyed.. I am going to write to the Ombudsman. I have already lodged a complaint with the Council and their response has been unacceptable.

Thank you,


Hi Geoff,

If you want to, you can apply to the Land Registry yourself. There is a set application form you can get from their website- Form ST1.‎

Good Luck!

Kind Regards