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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10737
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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We have recently moved house in Cheshire and there is a very

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We have recently moved house in Cheshire and there is a very overgrown piece of land behind the property for which I've obtained the Title details from Land Registry.
Unfortunately I can't track down the registered owners and heard that the husband died some years ago in Scotland, although I can't find a death record for him or his elderly wife. The land has no access, other than through our fence or from another piece of waste land owned by the local council. It has not been used or attended to for at least 20 years, probably a lot more, but we would like to clean it up (leave the trees but clear all the briers etc. that try to grow into our garden. Ideally, we would like to buy it but can't track down the owner, so wondered if we are able to claim it legally.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

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

If you have a copy of the Official Copies to the land from the Land Registry ( the title deeds), a local Wills Solicitor can do a search to see if the owners have died or not, by checking to see if Probate has been granted. If it turns out they have not both died, you have the following options which may or may not work- there should be an address for them on the Land Registry Official Copies and you could write to them/ use more word mouth to find them/using a tracing agent which may be expensive.

If you are unable to track them down, the law relating to "adverse possession" (claiming another party's land) is as follows-

You have to possess the land to the exclusion of the true owner for 12 years.

In order to possess the land, you have to demonstrate that you have occupied it yourself and no-one else has had possession of it- this normally entails fencing in the land and encompassing it into your own garden.

After 12 years, you can then make an application to the Land Registry for possessory title of the land.

So, provided you are willing to spend money fencing in the land and are happy to lose this money in the unlikely event that the true owner turns up, this may be the best route to go down.

I hope this helps and sets out the legal position.

If I have assisted, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards


Aston Lawyer and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hi Bob,

Can I assist any further?

If not, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards