Mapping Every Meter of Unregistered Land in England & Wales.

The Must-Have Map for Adverse Possession Claims.

A core tenant of Adverse Possession is the requirement to prove intention to possess. This has been established as shown in case law, as shown below:

  • “not an intention to own or even an intention to acquire ownership but an intention to possess.” – Buckinghamshire County Council v Moran [1988],
  • “This means the intention, in one’s own name and on one’s own behalf, to exclude the world at large, including the owner with the paper title if he be not himself the possessor, so far as reasonably practicable and so far as the processes of the law will allow” – Powell v McFarlane [1977] [Cambridge University Law Analysis Doc]
  • “In my judgement it is consistent with principle as well as authority that a person who originally entered another’s land as a trespasser, but later seeks to show that he has dispossessed the owner, should be required to adduce compelling evidence that he had the requisite animus possidendi in any case where his use of the land was equivocal, in the sense that it did not necessarily, by itself, betoken an intention on his part to claim the land as his own and exclude the true owner” – Powell v McFarlane [1977] [Cambridge University Law Analysis Doc].

What Does This Mean?

As a adverse claimer you need to show intent to possess not just to own. This means you must exclude the the world at large by treating it as your own private property and preventing unauthorized access to your plot. By making sure you publicly occupy the land through clear signage displayed on the boundary of the plot. Finally, you must be prepared to work on the land to improve it by clearing rubbish and ensuring nothing on your plot posses a risk to neighbours or members of the public. You also must be prepared to spend money on the plot to improve or secure it.

Overall, when you undertake an adverse possession you must make sure you treat the land as yours and that your actions show your intent to possess it, not just gain ownership of it.

Further Reading & Sources

Land Registry Documents | How to claim Adverse Possession of Land.