Mapping Every Meter of Unregistered Land in England & Wales.

The Must-Have Map for Adverse Possession Claims.

So you have found a piece of abandoned land, confirmed with Unclaimed Land Maps that it is unregistered (Purchase a subscription to access our unregistered land maps here) and have checked with a legal professional. What should you do now? How can you use the land for your own use whilst maximising your chances that your claim will be successful when you come to claim the land title deed in the future?

As usual, we are programmers not legal professionals. All infomation on this site are given as tips only. Adverse possession is a highly complex process so you will need to enquire with a legal professional to ensure you undertake the right steps for your particular case to maximise success whilst ensuring your not liable for anything. We cannot guarantee the legal accuracy of any infomation on this site not least because each case does vary.

Fence Your Plot

A core tenant of adverse possession is that you publicly exercise ownership and treat the land as yours. In effect, this means you must prevent anyone else using the land by blocking access. Therefore, the first thing to do is fence of the land or otherwise block access for anyone else. If the plot of land has an entrance, make sure you erect a gate or a fence. If your land is a woodland perhaps erect a wire fence. Though you must make sure you block members of the public trespassing on your property, you should ensure wildlife can access the land especially if it is in the woodland or in the countryside (read more here).

Of course, you should not, and cannot, block access to a right of way. Make sure you check that no right of way or highway passes through your plot – our maps will show rights of way for most of England & Wales. Indeed, you cannot claim land with a right of way passing over it.

Sign Post Your Land

Once you have a barrier erected, you must then place signs around the property establishing the fact the land is your private property. This satisfies the adverse possession requirement to publicly possess the land – you must not hide the fact you are claiming the land as this means your claim will not be successful. A simple laminated A4 sheet placed on the fencing will do (as long as you replace them as they degrade) or you could nail up higher quality printed hard plastic notices.

Another tip is to add a phone number, or email address, (probably best that this contact infomation is a burner number rather than your main number) to the signs. Therefore, if the current owner of the land does turn up they can contact you to clear you off the land! Remember, if someone does actively own the land you do not want to claim it – they can easily stop your claim so you don’t want to, nor should you, try to claim land which is not actually abandoned. Remember, you are undertaking adverse possession for the benefit of your community not to be a nuisance! 

With signs posted, and fencing erected, you can now start the clock on your ownership and begin actively using the land. Make sure you take plenty of photos of your fenced, signed posted, land to ensure you have lots of proof.

What to Do With Your Land

The first thing you want to do now is clear the land of rubbish, litter or abandoned structures. You need to prove that you are a responsible land owner and that the land will be better in your ownership than in its current state. Of course, this can be quite a lot of work but it is very strong evidence for ownership when you come to claim. Remember to take photos as you are undertaking any activities on the land, including clearing rubbish, and to try and get other people involved so you have other witnesses to your exclusive land ownership. 

Once you have the land clean, make sure you keep checking every so often in case another tidy-up is required. If you notice any trees, or anything else, which are hanging over the boundary of the property near a road, railway line or other building then it may be a good idea to get them cut. If a ditch runs through the plot, make sure the water is flowing properly and is not block otherwise dig it out. If there are any dangerous invasive plants, like Japanese Knotweed or Hogweed, make sure you clear them. Basically, anything on your plot which may pose a risk your fellow neighbouring land owners you should sort out – just as any land owner would. Anything which may pose a risk, such as large holes, must also be sorted out.

Now your land is cleared and you have ensured your plot is not posing a risk to anyone you can begin using it.

Economic Activities

Undertaking economic activities on your plot is excellent proof for your claim, once you come to apply for the title deeds. It means you are using the land and treating it exclusively as yours whilst being a responsible owner trying to make the land productive again.

Some ideas for this could be renting out the land for camping, planting fruit trees such as apples then selling the produce or even selling kindling from cut trees on the property. This all shows you are treating the land as yours, however make sure you contact a lawyer first before you undertake anything to ensure you are not liable. 

Overall, claiming land with adverse possession and actively working on the ground to possess the land can be a very fun activity. Make sure you take plenty of photos, invite people to witness your claim and act responsibility with your land ownership. Of course, always talk to a legal professional before you take any on-the-ground activity to ensure you are maximising your chances of success and staying within the law. We are simply offering tips and our advice may have legal mistakes so always do further research.