Adverse possession is a legal principle which is applicable to both residential and commercial land.
It is surprisingly common in residential land, particularly with smaller sites. This could include a garden boundary which has extended into an unused neighbouring plot for a long period, or continued use of a private road or driveway
Applications for adverse possession can be very complex with strict requirements to be met and, in particular, time limits for objections to be logged and actions implemented. Professional legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.
Where the land is registered with the Land Registry, the squatter must show occupation for at least ten years before it can apply to the Land Registry to become the legal owner. They will then notify the owner who has three months to raise an objection. Once the objection is raised, the owner has two years to evict the squatter.
If the owner fails to do this, the squatter may apply again to the Land Registry. At this time the Land Registry will not notify the legal owner and the squatter will be registered as the legal owner.
If land is not registered, then the squatter must show that they have occupied the land for 12 years before applying to become the legal owner.
GA’s experienced property litigation team has considerable experience in acting for landowners to secure adverse possession, as well as acting for those claiming adverse possession in relation to registered and unregistered land.