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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I own a small (2 bed) end of terrace rental house. Next door

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I own a small (2 bed) end of terrace rental house. Next door to it is a piece of land approx the same size as the house which according to land registry seems to be 'un-adopted', is gathering rubbish and is enclosed by a wall (local council I think) from which bricks are being removed slowly but surely. I'm interested in taking adverse possession of this land and perhaps adding it to mine as a garden/yard eventually.
I have three main questions;
1. What is the best way to confirm if it really is 'un-adopted' or whether the local council own it?
2. If it really is 'un-adopted' does this strengthen an adverse possession opportunity?
3. I've never taken on an adverse possession before and I'd like to know what are the most important steps for me to carry out?
Thank you in anticipation.

Have you submitted an index map search to the local authority?

Did this confirm that the land was not registered?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Tom
No, I haven't. Just a Land Registry online.
How can I submit an index map search as a layman?
HI Rob,

Drafting your answe4r now. Ten minutes or so..


Thanks for your reply.

You should send a index map search to the Land Registry by using Form SIM (enclosing a map of the area and edging the land in red, they will then tell you definitively if it is registered. You can download the form from the LR website:-

You will have to submit it to the same land registry office that deals with the legal title for your property. It will say on the registered official copies for your property. If the index map search results say that it is not registered then this means it is “unregistered” land. This means that the land has not been registered and the title is held by the person with the deeds confirming the property has been earlier conveyed to them. They are difficult to trace because you have only informal means of enquiry at your disposal.

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.

You would ideally enclose the land and document the time you did this to start the time period for your adverse possession. I would enclose it, take pictures of the enclosure and any maintanence you carry out and then execute a statutory declaration, possibly also asking a local solicitor to witness the enclosure and execute a statutory declaration as well.

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,


Sorry, I should also have posted this link to the Land Registry Forms section where you can download Form SIM for the index map search:-

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Re my question 2.
Does un-adopted = unregistered?
Are they the same thing in terms of property law?

In terms of ownership there is only 1) unregistered or 2) registered land. It msut be one of these two things.

Both registered and unregistered land can be adopted by the local authority so that the land is maintained as a highway maintainable at the public expense. For example, all the roads in your town centre will be adopted at the public expense (ie. because they are public highways).

If it's just a partch adjacent to your house and not used as a highway then it probably won't be adopted. You can contact "Land Charges" at your local authority to ask about their fees for a one off question about whether a piece of land is adpoted. Shouldn't be too expensive.

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