Mapping Every Meter of Unregistered Land in England & Wales.

The Must-Have Map for Adverse Possession Claims.

Two fences

Council land, being classed as Crown land, normally requires 30 years of possession before a claim will be accepted for processing. That being said, even if the land is registered, if the claimer owners the land directly adjacent to the land looking to be acquired, the requirements are lower. The requirements are:

  • the adversely possessed land is adjacent to land owned by the squatter.
  • the exact boundary line between the two pieces of land is undetermined.
  • for at least 10 years before the application, the squatter (or their predecessor in title) reasonably believed that the adversely possessed land belonged to them.
  • the adversely possessed land was registered more than one year before the date of the application.

This exception from the standard rules is of great help to many home owners looking to extent their gardens! However, it also displays how complex the whole field of adverse possession is. It is always vital to engage with a legal profession before you undertake a claim to ensure you are successful. For example, a recent case tried to argue for the above exception but, given the whole plot in question was not directly adjacent to the claimers land, they lost the case [see Dowse v City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council].

As opposed to this case, another case was recently successful again looking to claim a small plot of land directly advancement to the property. This was Thorpe v Frank (2019) and, to summarise, involved a small car parking plot. The claim occupation begain in 1986 and, despite the fact the land was not fenced off which is normally essential, was successful. This was down to the fact they proved the intention to possess by investing in the property through new paving stones and constant cleaning Рthis highlights the fact, for adverse claimers, cleaning and investing in an adverse possession claim is vital for success. 

Sources & Further Reading