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Buachaill
Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 8299
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I have recently discovered that a neighbour has taken some

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I have recently discovered that a neighbour has taken some of our land into her garden. Because the land is fairly overgrown it has been difficult to see this but even though we have not been in that corner of the field for several years we do walk this land regularly. It is about 3 acres. I warned this neighbour a number of years ago to desist trespassing and she got all shirty with me saying this was not the case at all. Meanwhile the neighbour has altzeimers and the house has been sold on to a third party. The new owners have now lodged a case for a new folio to be created in the land registry claiiming squatters rights even though they are only there since last November! What do I do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 7 months ago.

Buachaill :

1. The first thing is that you oppose the registration of this 3 acres plot of land in the Property Registration Authority/Land Registry in the name of your neighbour. I would advise you to get yourself a solicitor at this stage because it will greatly assist you if you get a solicitor to help you from the outset and ultimately the matter may go to litigation. You also need to realise that your new neighbour has probably bought this land next door on the basis that the previous neighbour said she had proper squatter's title to your 3 acre piece of land. So expect your new neighbour to immediately seek to rely upon some representation from your previous neighbour about having rights to your 3 acre plot. Be aware that the law is that a person must have clear and exclusive possession of any land upon which it is sought to claim squatter's rights. This would normally mean that they must have the land fenced in their favour and that they barred all other users and in particular the person in whose name it is registered in the Land Registry. Additionally, the person squatting must have the intention to oust the title of the true owner. Here, from what you say about your neighbour's response to you, it appears that your neighbour sought to deny having trespassed at all. Such a denial is fundamentally at odds with the law's requirement that the squatter must seek to bar all others, including the true owner, from their clear squatting on the land. If your neighbour was claiming squatter's rights she must make clear to you that she was trespassing and squatting on your land. Otherwise there is no intention to bar you from your own land and therefore no squatter's rights..

Buachaill :

2. Be aware that your neighbour will seek to rely upon the actions of the previous lady owner is calculating the necessary 12 year time period which is required to claim squatter's title. So expect some form of statement from the previous lady owner in which she asserts squatter's title. Finally, given that your neighbour has used a solicitor, I would advise you to do so, in order that you fully appreciate the Land Registry procedure.

Buachaill :

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Customer:

Hi Buachaill, thanks for that answer. First of all she has not taken possession of all three acres but of a fairly substantial corner of the property running along by her garden. We wrote to her in 1999 and again in 2004 to cease and desist interfering with our boundary trees and shrubs. In 99 the owner responded by denying any trespass and in 2004 did not respond. Two of my family members and myself called to her door in 2004 but did not get a response from her. We left a hand written note asking her to contact us which she did not.

Customer:

Clearly this matter arose in conveyancing as the closing solicitor applied for the Section 49 a couple of weeks after the sale closed. Surely it would be incumbent on them to contact the rightful owners before the sale was closed?

Customer:

This lady is now living in the us and obviously feels cushioned enough from the law here.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 7 months ago.
3. I regret to say that in conveyancing there is no obligation on either vendor or purchaser to contact the true owner when the issue of squatting arises. In such circumstances, the onus is placed on each party to protect themselves as best they can. Here, I appreciate that the row will occur between you and the new owner. Not the person who generated this dispute who is now in the US. However, be that as it may, the onus is on you to deal with it now that it has arose.
PLease RATE the Answer positively
Buachaill, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 8299
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
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