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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7430
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My husband and I moved into our house in 1995. At the bottom

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My husband and I moved into our house in 1995. At the bottom of our garden was a derelict piece of land which belonged as garden to maisonettes at the corner of the road, which are leasehold. It was thoroughly overgrown with nettles, brambles etc. In about 1997 the problem of these weeds became extreme and we decided to go through the fence and cultivate the land. This we did. My husband died in 2000 and the land has continued in cultivation. I was told at the time that if we cultivated it for 12 years we would be able to claim it as an extension to our garden. I should lioke to do this now. What should I do please?

Thanks for your question.

On the facts as stated, you do appear to be eligible to make a claim for the land and you have to prove what is termed “adverse possession” to the Land Registry in order to have it registered in your name provided you have taken possession of the land and maintained it for the length of time you say you have.

If the land in question is unregistered then you must have been using it continuously for 12 years in order to claim possession of it and be registered as the registered proprietor at the Land Registry

If the land is registered then you need only have been using it continuously for 10 years in order to apply for adverse possession at the Land Registry. Notice of the application will be sent to the current registered proprietor of the land, who is obviously at liberty to object. It is therefore more difficult to claim adverse possession of land that is registered.

If you do not know whether the land is registered then you can check using the Land Registry's online service by downloading a copy of the register of the title (if any) for the property:-

If this does not illicit results then you should send a index map search to the Land Registry by using Form SIM (enclosing a map of the area), they will then tell you definitively if it is registered. You can also download that form from the LR website.

In the case of both applications you would have to submit form ADV1 to the Land Registry together with sworn statutory declarations regarding how long you have been using the land (from you and others who know of your use) and it may be something over which you should consider taking specific legal advice from a local solicitor to ensure that the application and supporting documentation is drafted correctly

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Kind regards,

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