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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10513
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have claimed adverse possession of a property that the now

Customer Question

I have claimed adverse possession of a property that the now deceased owner previously had made an arrangement with the council to have the repaires completed by 2011 but these were never started.
I did not know of these arrangement or I would have had the repairs done, but because of this the council have now given a notice of a CPO and the reasons are because the repairs have not been done.
Is there anyway I as the adverse possessor can stop the CPO if I have the repairs completed?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 month ago.

Hello for clarification - can you explain how you came to be in control of this property and when this was?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I claimed the property by adverse possession, so I treat the property as my own as it is unregistered after the 12 years I was going to apply to the land registry. I have been in control of the property for two years.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
This is the most recent letter received which was only seen today so no communication has yet been made with the council
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 month ago.

Assuming that this is a residential property, then adverse possession of a residential property (squatting) has been a criminal offence since 2012 and you cannot claim a right in law by committing a criminal offence.

It would have been different had you been in the property prior to 2012 but you say that you have only been in occupation for 2 years.

I’m afraid therefore that any defence you have that you are adversely possessing the property and are entitled to possession and to do the work and oppose the local authority Compulsory Purchase Order is likely to fail UNLESS you were invited into the property by the owner before the owner died but you will need to prove that. Here is a little light reading:

https://www.gov.uk/squatting-law

HOWEVER, if you have been invited into the property, then your not squatting and it’s not a criminal offence but it does mean that your possession is not adverse therefore you cannot claim adverse possession.QED. Sorry.

I’m afraid that if you had done the repairs, and you did move into the property or take control of it after the person died, the chance is you would have lost that work cost.

I am sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 month ago.

Assuming that this is a residential property, then adverse possession of a residential property (squatting) has been a criminal offence since 2012 and you cannot claim a right in law by committing a criminal offence.

It would have been different had you been in the property prior to 2012 but you say that you have only been in occupation for 2 years.

I’m afraid therefore that any defence you have that you are adversely possessing the property and are entitled to possession and to do the work and oppose the local authority Compulsory Purchase Order is likely to fail UNLESS you were invited into the property by the owner before the owner died but you will need to prove that. Here is a little light reading:

https://www.gov.uk/squatting-law

HOWEVER, if you have been invited into the property, then your not squatting and it’s not a criminal offence but it does mean that your possession is not adverse therefore you cannot claim adverse possession.QED. Sorry.

I’m afraid that if you had done the repairs, and you did move into the property or take control of it after the person died, the chance is you would have lost that work cost.

I am sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
If this is the case then why on the gov website do they still give information on how to claim adverse possession?
Also sorry did I say I've been in control of it for 2 years? Sorry I ment to say 7 years!
Please advise in this case
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land/practice-guide-5-adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-and-2-registered-land-where-a-right-to-be-registered-was-acquired-before-13-october-2003
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Link to gov website
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Please also see section 9 of the offence of squatting. Section 9 states that they must be intending to live in the property for it to be trespass? I do not live in the property nor do I intend on ever living in the property
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Also if I was previously invited in by the owner and I completed the building work would the council still be able to compulsory purchase it?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 month ago.

Because it’s not claiming adverse possession of a residential building. You can claim adverse possession of residential land and commercial land but not a residential building.

Whether you commit an offence or not depends on whether the owner of the land allowed you to enter the property or not but as I said earlier, if he did, you cannot claim adverse possession and if he didn’t, your possession became adverse in 2012.

In any event, you cannot claim adverse possession until you have been in unregistered property for 12 years or 10 years if the property is registered at the land Registry.

If you don’t occupy the property, and you are just “claiming it” then you cannot claim adverse possession because you have to have used it and treated as your own and clearly, you haven’t done that.

If you were invited in by the previous owner and completed the building work, you would be entitled to claim for the work against the previous owner’s estate but it wouldn’t entitle you to the property.

It isn’t possible to just find an abandoned piece of property and slap your name on it and expect it to become yours in 10 or 12 years time.

Bearing in mind that you have only been claiming this property for 7 years, how would you get round the 10 / 12 year timescale if the local authority compulsorily purchased it meanwhile.

I am aware of the contents of the circular which may get you out of it being a criminal offence but it would not give you adverse possession.

Let me ask some questions:

did the original owner invite you in?

If he didn’t, how did you get in?

In what way have you occupied the property and treated the property as your own such that you would claim adverse possession if you were not invited in? Please note it must be factual occupation, you cannot simply put a lock on it and say that it’s mine. Land registry criteria.

Did the owner of the property have a will or any living relatives anywhere on the planet even if the family tree needs to go back hundreds of years and then come forward to present day onto a different branch of the family tree?

When did the owner die or cease looking after/occupying the property?

I’m sorry, this is not looking good. I would like to say that you had a fantastic claim and I would be really pleased for you, anything to stop the local authority getting something for nothing, but I’m afraid that I can’t do that. I cannot see any circumstances regardless of what your answers to the above are, when you can just claim this abandoned property

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm trying to look into all the possibilities here.
If I was invited in then I understand it would not be adverse possession. But I would still be in control of the property. And then the problem would be stopping the CPO which is what I'm in contact with you for....
If the building work was completed would the council still have the right to purchase?
So are you saying that since 2012 when the new law came into affect on squatting that it is now impossible to gain ownership using adverse possession?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 month ago.

If you were invited in, then you are a guest and you have no right to stay in the property and you have no right of adverse possession because your possession is not adverse.

You cannot now adversely possess a residential property because it is illegal in the land Registry will refuse an application

It would help me if you answer the specific questions I asked because then I can give you a more definitive answer.

I think it unlikely that you are going to be over to claim adverse possession. The Compulsory Purchase Order. if it was as easy as simply moving into the property to prevent such a Compulsory Purchase, then everyone would do it.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Honestly you have been no help whatsoever and have given me wrong outdated information so are clearly not upto date on property law.
I will not be rating you and will be getting a refund.You might want to take a look at this link.....https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2014/may/high-court-reaches-sensible-compromise-on-conflict-between-property-possession-and-squatting-regimes-says-expert/Andhttp://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/property/magazine/march-2015/court-of-appeal-rules-trespasser-can-acquire-title-by-adverse-possession/5047032.fullarticle