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  Solicitors Bude Cornwall   Article - Adverse Possession - 30 Jul 2008 Holsworthy Solicitors


It may not seem the most exciting or straightforward area of the law but the issue of adverse possession
  (whereby a person may obtain ownership of someone else’s land and the buildings on it) has occupied much of my time recently.  I have even had one case which went as far as the Court of Appeal (the second highest UK court).  Disputes about land are often hotly disputed and often both sides may feel they are entirely “in the right”.
 
Up until 2002, a person could obtain adverse possession to another’s land if they could establish that (a) they had been in actual possession of and had control over the land, having exclusive use of it without anyone’s consent and (b) they had acted with the intention of acquiring and holding themselves out as being the owner of the land and had so used the land for at least 12 years.
 
The above remains generally still remains the case where the land is unregistered, but the Land Registration Act 2002 now applies to registered land.
 
To seek possession of registered land the person using it must be able to show that they have had control of and used the land for at least 10, rather than 12 years but the land must have been registered for at least one year.
 
Upon such an application for what is known as possessory title, the Land Registry will notify the registered owner of the application and he should immediately seek legal advice although he will have 3 months in which to respond. If the registered owner does not oppose the application then the title register will be amended to give the applicant title to the land. If the application is opposed then the registered owner cannot just leave it at that.  He must take Court action to seek eviction of the “squatter” because if the squatter still remains in occupation of the land continuously without any further objection for a further 2 years, he can make another application for title which will be allowed, even if the registered owner again opposes.
 
This is a very brief introduction to what is a very complicated subject.  Do not rely upon it if you fear that someone may be using your land with a view to claiming it.  Seek advice immediately from a Solicitor with the right expertise to make the most of your case. Remember failure to protect your land can result in great loss and disappointment.
 
For Professional Legal Advice for any matter including adverse possession, land and boundary disputes contact Paul Finn Solicitors on 01288 356 256. 
 
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Martin Curnow
Head of Litigation, Paul Finn Solicitors
Tel: 01288 356 256
Email: CurnowM@FinnLaw.co.uk
 
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