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LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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We own a property and to the left at the front is a small

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We own a property and to the left at the front is a small piece of land that is not on our title deeds. We want to build and extension and expand onto this land as it is adjacent to our front garden. The house in an end of terrace house and there is a fence the otherside of this piece of land. We have found out this land belongs to Metropolitan Housing trust. We have lived here since 1997 and always maintained this piece of land and cut the grass and weeds and have treated it like our own since we lived there. My question is how do we go about laying claim to the land so we can build on it?
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this fro you.
Is the land you describe enclosed by you by a fence/wall/hedge etc?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not exactly. It is between my front garden and a blocked off fence which signals the end of the road. There are some hedges on it. It is not very big. Say 4m X 4m. At the back of the land is a side entrance to my property.
I think you are wondering whether you are able to claim ownership of this land through adverse possession (ie squatters rights). Maintaining the garden is an act of ownership but in order to claim adverse possession you need to prove factual ownership, this would usually require that you exclude the world and the Housing Trust from coming on to the land by enclosing the land.
It doesn't sound like you have done that, so a claim for adverse possession is unlikely to succeed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I read about something called Possessory Freehold Title. How would we go about applying for this?
Should we now put a fence around it then?
Possessory freehold is the same thing as adverse possession although not a phrase lawyers would use.
You need to have had adverse possession for 10 or 12 years depending on a few circumstances but as explained above I do not think you will have right to claim ownership of the land. If you put up a fence now you will need to wait for at least a decade before you can claim ownership of the land.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So how do we go about making a claim? Who do we contact?
You can't. Based on what you have told me you do not own the land.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have never said that I own the land, but I have read that we are able to stake a claim to it as we have been maintaining it for over 12 years. I have not read that we have to have put a fence around it. We have witnesses to say we have been maintaining it too. All I am asking is who we contact and how do we apply to claim it? 4th time.
You are saying you own the land through adverse possession. You do not stake a claim. You can apply to HMLR to have your ownership acquired through adverse possession registered.
Follow this link that shows how to do it.
But maintaining it does not = owning it (see above). You have to actually possess the land which requires excluding others from it. Have you done that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks I will read the link later. We have a small picket fence around it. It is enclosed although someone could just step over it, as it is not very high not even a metre.
Well, in that case it may be worth giving it a go. Good luck.
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