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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10585
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I own a trailer used as a business that has been sat on a patch of land and not moved an inch for years. The land is part of a strip of land being disputed by two other parties - neither has deeds as far as I know (I could be wrong). The strip has been used as informal public car parking and by other businesses for years. How would I find out who owns the land / has deeds? Can I claim adverse possession on the bit of land directly under the trailer & what kind of evidence would I need to do so? I bought the trailer/business a few years ago, but there were other owners before me going back over the 12 year limit & its been in continuous use as a business. Importantly, would the two parties in dispute or anyone else be informed of me making a claim to adverse possession etc & if so could they remove me forcibly from the land before it goes through? If no one is registered as owner or ownership is unclear can land be dispossessed from anyone? Does there have to be a clear owner that I'm attempting to dispossess the land from? If it turns out to be 'common land' can I still claim? What steps are involved in making an adverse possession claim & registering as owner of the land if its successful & how long can it take & how much can it cost? Thanks

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 4 years ago.
1. The first thing you need to do here is to look in the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds and find out who actually owns the land you are sitting on. Before you know that, all of what you ask is conjecture as some of these two parties may have ownership. You should get a solicitor to ascertain the land ownership as a matter of priority.
2. Secondly, in order to obtain adverse possession not only do you need 12 years of exclusive possession but you also need to have the necessary animus possidendi or intention to possess adverse to the interest of the person who owns the land. It does not matter whether the land is commonage or owned by one person. The rules for adverse possession are the same. When making an adverse possession claim, you should get the assistance of a solicitor as you have to make an application to the Land Registry at the outset to be registered as owner. It will also involve putting a notice in the newspaper and advertising your claim on the site and to the world at large. You can expect to pay the solicitor between €2-3,000 for a successful adverse possession claim.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

when you say' exclusive possession' does that just mean the trailer has to have been there under past owners, or do I have to have owned it specifically? can the possession be passed from owner to owner? how would I show animus possenidi?

how would I prove its been there & would I need to?

Also, if one of the parties comes & tows my trailer away, as they have threatened, what legal recourse would I have & would that be fatal to my claim?



Expert:  Buachaill replied 4 years ago.
3. Exclusive possession means that you excluded all others from possession of it. It must have been the situation that you and only you decided what went on in the piece you claim and no one else entered on it without your permission. If you get your trailer towed away, then that is fatal to your claim as it clearly ends your exclusive possession of it. If you are relying on previous holders, then you will have to show that not only you had the intention to possess but you will need evidence from the previous owners that the intended to "own" the land and excluded all others. The 12 years can be made up from different possessors provided they all had the necessary intention to possess the land to the exclusion of all others.
4. However, a lot of these questions are theoretical and only arise when you know who is the owner of the land.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

just to be clear, if someone moves or damages my trailer would that be criminal damage, if its not their land?

Expert:  Buachaill replied 4 years ago.
5. Moving your trailer would not be criminal damage if nothing is broken. The offence of criminal damage involves some unlawful breaking of property. The Gardai will not prosecute for criminal damage for this type of thing but leave everyone to their civil remedy. So you should not have some false security that the remedy of criminal damage will provide some get-out for you if the law is not in your favour. So I would advise you to clarify the ownership issue as a matter of urgency. All other issues are only theoretical until you have found that out.
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