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Issue of Adverse Possession

An application for adverse possession of property or land can be made if an individual(s) has occupied it for a specified time limit, which under the law entitles them to take possession (title) of the property and/or land – known as registration of adverse possessor under Schedule 6 of the Land Registration Act.

The time limits for applying for adverse possession vary – usually depending on whether the land or property is registered at the Land Registry.

Time limits for adverse possession claims

The minimum time limits for making an adverse possession claim are:

  • Land/property registered at Land Registry: 10 years
  • Land/property registered at Land Registry but period involved in claim pre-dates 13 October 2003: 12 years
  • Land/property not registered at Land Registry: 12 years

In cases involving right of way over land, this can be established over land if an individual has used a route unchallenged for 20 years or more.

Factual possession and adverse possession claims

Before an application for adverse possession can be made, the applicant – the person who has been using the property and/or land – must also prove that they have “factual possession” of the property/land.

This might involve simply using the property or land unchallenged for ten or 12 years – or factual possession might involve having fenced off a piece of land and using it unchallenged for the relevant time period.

Establishing factual possession can be complex, however – and it is advisable to take legal advice from a housing solicitor with expertise in adverse possession applications, to ensure that:

  • your claim is valid
  • your claim fulfills the time limits for adverse possession; and
  • your claim establishes factual possession.

LAWTEC solicitors can offer expert advice on an issue of adverse possession – including collating evidence of use or occupation of land and/or property and making an application to the Land Registry under Schedule 6 of the Land Registration Act 2002.

Objecting to adverse possession claims

LAWTEC Solicitors can advise the registered proprietors of property and/or land on making an objection to an application for adverse possession.

In the event an individual applies to the Land Registry to register their ownership to land or property, the registered proprietor has 65 days in which to make an objection – which involves sending a counter notice to the Land Registry under the Land Registration Act.

It is advisable to contact LAWTEC Solicitors as soon as possible after notice of an adverse possession has been received, to enable our property team to assess the case and take action to protect your property.

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