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propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 288
Experience:  Property solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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I have owned a plot of land years but have been prevented

Customer Question

I have owned a plot of land for many years but have been prevented from building by planning issues. Recently I understand the neighbor to the plot has erected fencing and laid turf (presumably to start adverse possession and/or confuse planning even further). What can/should I do to thwart this and protect my absolute title?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 1 year ago.


In order for your neighbour to claim adverse possession (AP) he would have to satisfy two requirements (1) uninterrupted factual possession of the land for the requisite period (10 years for registered land and 12 for unregistered land) and (2) an intention on the part of the the neighbour to possess the land during that period of possession.

There must be a sufficient degree of exclusive physical control over the land. What is sufficient will depend on the circumstances and, in particular, the nature of the land and the manner in which land of that nature is commonly used.

Therefore it would depend upon the length of time the neighbour had been possessing the land and if during this time his intention was to possess to the exclusion of all others.

To prevent this you only need to resume possession for a very short period of time to interrupt the neighbour's possession. However, there must be an act of interruption which ends the neighbour's exclusive possession, rather than an act which simply challenges the neighbour's right to possession.

How has the fencing been erected? Do you still have access? How is the neighbour using this land? How long has this been on-going?

The neighbour is committing a trespass by entering the land.

You can exclude the neighbour and block the access. You could write to the neighbour, assert that it is your land, back this up with a copy of the title, you do not consent to the neighbour using the land. You can offer the neighbour a licence to use (in return for a licence fee) the land if the neighbour wants to use it and inform the neighbour that continued use without permission is a trespass.

I hope this is helpful.

Expert:  propertylawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Mark

I hope my message/advice was helpful.

Do let me know if you have any further questions or queries. I would be happy to assist you further.

Please can I ask you to take a moment to accept/rate my reply. Otherwise I will not get paid for the time I have taken to consider and type my reply. Thanks.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Expert was clear and helpful. Any problems I have with my next move result from my disability (left-sided paralysis following a stroke.) This makes it dangerous for me to inspect the plot myself (trip hazard) and any action to repossess would be physically beyond me (in any case, stress is also very dangerous for me.)
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Mark

You would not have to do anything physical to the land or even to attend and inspect.

You can write to the neighbour to say that you do not give the neighbour permission to use the land. You can offer to grant the neighbour a licence to use the land.

Kind regards