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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Property Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10542
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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Customer Question

UK PROPERTY LAW - ADVERSE POSSESSION. I am interested in land with a derelict building on it which has only partial walls. It is registered but after extensive searches by myself and a private investigator we cannot trace the registered owner ever existed. However a person several generations on with the same surname states it belongs to a trust. It is not registered in a name of a trust which it should be. Do I go to court to flush out the owner or take adverse possession and erect a sign stating that the owner must provide full documentary evidence of ownership, birth, marriage & death certificates. Then copies of will, probate and the actual trust and trustees details. If I was to be really nasty, if as I expect something not quite correct just tell the Inland Revenue on taxes they may be missing out to flush them out as I have the address of a person who says it is in a trust. Your thoughts are awaited.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.


Hi Chris,


Thanks for your enquiry.


In order to successfully claim registered land under adverse possession, a person has to show that they have possessed the land for 10 continuous years or more without the consent of the true owner and that the true owner has never disputed that person's possession of the land.

It therefore does not matter who in effect truly owns the land in question- it is just up to you to show to the Land Registry that you have possessed the land for 10 years without dispute.

I am guessing that you have yet to take any sort of possession of the land and therefore all your hard work has been to no avail in you being entitled to claim under adverse possession. Going to Court to try and establish the true owner will be of no help.


I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for, but if I have answered your question, I would be grateful if you could leave positive feedback.


Kind Regards



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Thanks for your reply. I did put up gates and a bit of fencing around the land but there is still a lot more to erect if I took adverse possession. I did it because the drive entrance onto the land had just a mound of earth and there was around the corner an area that was being used as a parking area off this country lane and was used basically for fly tipping. This has now stopped but as I am not on the land no one except myself knows who put the gates up and who has the key. I presume as the public still has free access it cannot have started the adverse possession clock. I expect that if I erect the rest of the fencing to stop entry and just cleared and tended to the land this would be o.k..

Also do you think I should erect a sign about the adverse possession and all the documentation that would be needed to satisfy they are the legal owners. Alternatively just leave a mobile number on a sign to ring re adverse possession.

From what I have read and your reply I feel that I should go ahead with the possession. If it all goes well the next problem is the transfer of the land into my name in 10 or 12 years time. I have to answer the question about whether I know the identity of the registered owner. Yes I do know who the land is registered to, but cannot trace any record of her or that she even existed. I cannot lie so really it could possibly be never transferred into my name.


try and evict me that if a notice is erected so that if the aledged owner does eventually visit that it is id

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 4 years ago.


Hi again,


Thanks for your reply.


In order to be successful in an adverse possession matter, I'm afraid you would have to do more than merely secure the land from the public- you would actually have to live there. Possession means more than keeping it secure and out of reach from anybody else- you need to be "enjoying the land" ie living there and using the land to the exclusion of anyone else.


You don't need to put up any signage/indication that you are living/occupying the property to be successful when it comes to adverse possession.


As and when you have lived there for 10 years, the fact that you know who owns the land would make no difference to your application and just because you know who the registered legal owner is would not defeat your application.


I hope this assists further, and if so, I would be grateful if you could leave positive feedback.


Kind Regards