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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7600
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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The company that owns a house we have kept for many years has

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The company that owns a house we have kept for many years has not claimed any rent or maintained the property for over 10 years, do we have a legal right to claim ownership of the property?

How did you originally come to take occupation of the property?

Did you rent it from the property?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Rented the property from a housing association

Thanks for your patience.

In order 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.

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(it may be that the land forms part of one of the registered titles of the properties which it adjoins):-

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.

The difficulty is that you have to have an intention to possession the land from the start. The problem that you will face is because you originally rented the landlord your intention could better be said to “rent” the land, rather than possess it. You may have problems arguing the time from which you should be considered to have intented to “possess” the land.

If you are going to proceed with this then you should certainly see a adverse possession lawyer for a consultation. The reason that I say this is because if the land is registered then notice of your intention to claim the land will be sent to the housing association. This in turn may result in them clamiing back rent from you, so you could potentially expose yourself to liability.

If you had not originally rented the property then I would be more confident in your application. As it stands you really need a consultation with an adverse possession lawyer if you are considering this.

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Kind regards,

Thomas and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The property was rented in my father mother or both their names

My gut feeling is that this means you have a better case. Potentially you might have a claim for adverse possession.

However, before doing anything about this you really do need to have a consultation with an adverse possession land law solicitor to check on the basis of specific documentation (ie. evidence of title for the landlord, evidence of the length of time you have been in there, evidence of the original tenancy agreement, any correspondece received from the association etc).

Please remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards.