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Protecting your territory

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Adverse possession land claims – protecting your territory.

Adverse possession is a controversial area of law and one commonly known in the media for giving “squatters rights” to land and often causes public outrage. Although not all adverse possession claims arise as a result of individuals attempting to deliberately take another’s land, it may be that the individual held an honest but mistaken belief that the land was theirs or formed a part of their boundary line.

The principles of adverse possession, put simply, permit that someone may acquire title to another’s land if they can demonstrate that:

  • they have acquired continuous possession of the land in question for the requisite time;  and
  • they have physical control over the land, to the extent that they have excluded all others including the land owner, and
  • it was their intention to possess the land, whilst it was under their physical control.

There is a difference in adverse possession laws depending upon whether or not the land in question is unregistered or registered. Following the enactment of legislation in 2003 it is more difficult to acquire title to registered land by means of adverse possession.

On the other hand, the same cannot be said for unregistered land, which ultimately could result in one losing title to their land after 12 years of adverse possession, if they do not recover possession of their land prior to this period lapsing.

Types of adverse possession issues

  • Adverse possessions claim can be made or contested in respect of the following:
  • A whole property or building
  • Specific part of the property i.e.  changing the boundary line of a property/garden or driveway/establishing a right of way over another’s property
  • Registered/unregistered land
  • Leasehold

If you have a land dispute and want to either make or defend a claim for adverse possession in relation to land, please call our team on 0800 118 1500.