What is adverse possession?

 

Adverse possession is a common-law operation which relates to land law. Adverse possession permits a party which is enjoying the benefit of land to gain full title to that land even if the party is not the legal owner of the land.

Squatting

On unregistered land, adverse possession is commonly referred to as squatters’ rights because squatters are the most likely beneficiaries of the rule.

In order to qualify for adverse possession the party claiming adverse possession must show that it has been using or living on the property for 12 years, and that during that time the legal owner both did not give permission (through a license or lease) and did not attempt to reclaim the land.

The court must also be satisfied that the use of the land was unrestricted and that there was no attempt to hide the fact that the land was being used. The law was developed to ensure confidence in one’s ownership of a land.

What about on registered land?

Since the Land Registration Act 2002 came into force, the concept of adverse possession has changed dramatically with regards to registered land.

The requirements for a successful claim in registered land are different in that only ten years of possession are needed, but the party in possession must actively submit an application. (For unregistered land the beneficial title simply transfers to the new owner, and the issue is only addressed if there is a dispute.)

The application is accompanied by several forms and an alert goes to any parties which might have an interest in the property.

If you are currently involved in an adverse possession dispute you will find it useful to seek the advice of a specialist solicitor, as such a meeting is likely to help you understand the exact legal position you are in. Property tends to be valuable, and to risk losing it through adverse possession is a risk not worth taking.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on adverse possession, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local property solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local property solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

Call
0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant

 

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.