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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10588
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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We have been living in the property years and the landlord

Customer Question

We have been living in the property for 24 years and the landlord has just died. When we moved in he told us that he had no family at all and we should treat the house as our own and if we looked after it and paid the rent he would leave it to us when he died. We have since heard that he has left the property to charity (although this is not official). We are also aware that he does not have the deeds to the house. It has never been bought or sold as his grandfather was the builder and he gave it to our landlords dad when he died and then his dad left it to him. We know he does not not have or know where the deeds are. We have checked with the land registry and it has not been registered with them.
Do we have any legal right to claim the house and register it in our names.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry I don't want live phone call I pressed the call me to see what came up. I would like your response to my question either here and now on screen or by email. Thank you.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

1. In order to lay legal claim to the house, based on your occupation, you would need to be able to show that you hadn't been paying rent, whilst occupying it for the last 12 years, exclusively, without allowing anyone you didn't want to access. Here, as you were paying rent to the landlord, I am afraid your claim for squatter's rights or adverse possession would fail, as each time you paid rent, you were acknowledging your landlord's title to the land. Something which is inconsistent with you owning it.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

2. The other things, I am sure you don't need to be told, that a promise to leave something to someone is a will is not legally enforceable. People say these things all the time and the law only recognises a will as being valid. In order that a transfer to you by way of gift would have been valid, there would have to have been something in writing transferring the property over to you. A mere puff from a landlord is not sufficient. Not everyone is honest and keeps all promises they made. The landlord here simply lead you astray.