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Common Questions Regarding Adverse Possession

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

What are the requirements for adverse possession:

The requirements for adverse possession are:
• Exclusive Occupation
• Intention to Possess
• Without Consent
• Exclusion of the world at large
• There for a period of 10/12 years.

The period of time required in occupation varies, dependent upon whether the land is registered at the Land Registry, or unregistered land, and even dependent upon the date when the land was first registered.

What is exclusive occupation?

It must be shown that you have had factual occupation of the Land for the required period. You must be able to demonstrate that you have a sufficient degree of exclusive physical control over the Land, and that you are treating the Land as the occupying owner might have been expected to deal with it

What is an intention to possess?

An individual must show they have an intention to possess the land to which they are applying for registration of based on Adverse Possession. To show an intention to possess, an individual must prove they have a sufficient degree of custody and control over land as well as an intention to exercise such custody and control. It is not enough for an applicant to simply use land for the required time period. The applicant must show they have gone beyond this and must evidence that they have treated the land as if it were their own.

What is possessory title?

Possessory title is granted where the landowner acquires the land by registration following adverse possession or where they cannot produce documentary evidence of title for some reason. This class of title is normal and expected when applying for registration of unregistered land based on adverse possession, in fact the Land Registry have no basis to grant anything other than possessory title.

Possessory title simply means that the land may be subject to existing restrictive covenants or rights however, as the Land Registry do not have any deeds for the land, they are not aware of what, if any, exist.

What are the different types of application?

• Application for unregistered Land.
• Application for registered land under the old regime under Schedule 12 Paragraph 18 of the Land Registration Act 2002. This is used where occupation commenced prior to October 1991.
• Application for registered land under the new regime under schedule 6 of the Land Registration Act 2002.

What is the ‘new regime’ for adverse possession?

For applications of this type, not only do the usual requirements of adverse possession apply when making a claim, the LRA introduced further protections for the landowner should they serve a counter notice when opposing to any application made.

The counter notice would force the squatter to rely on one of three conditions, if they cannot then their application would be rejected.

The three conditions are:

1. It would be unconscionable for the squatter not to have the land registered in their name,

2. The squatter is entitled to the land, for example it has been left to them under a will, or

3. The land to which the application relates is adjacent to land belonging to the squatter, the exact line of the boundary between the two has not previously been determined and for at least the 10-year required period ending on the date of the application, the squatter reasonably believed the land to be their own.