Q&As

Where land has been occupied by an adjoining owner (who has since died) and never fenced in and the adjoining owner’s immediate successor is not interested in claiming/using the land, how should the release of any occupation/adverse possession rights be documented and will any such consensual arrangement defeat any future adverse possession claim by the successor?

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Produced in partnership with Kate Andrews of Hamlins
Published on LexisPSL on 21/06/2017

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Kate Andrews of Hamlins provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where land has been occupied by an adjoining owner (who has since died) and never fenced in and the adjoining owner’s immediate successor is not interested in claiming/using the land, how should the release of any occupation/adverse possession rights be documented and will any such consensual arrangement defeat any future adverse possession claim by the successor?
  • Adverse possession—requirements

Adverse possession—requirements

For a person to be able to acquire title to land through adverse possession, there are certain requirements which must be satisfied in all cases:

  1. uninterrupted factual possession of land for the required period of time

  2. intention to possess the land during the period of possession

It is possible for chains of occupiers to acquire title to land through adverse possession. Further, title to land acquired by adverse possession can be inherited.

Assuming the requirements for adverse possession are met, there are different processes by which title to land is acquired, depending on whether the land is registered or unregistered. These are:

  1. unregistered land—to acquire title to unregistered land through adverse possession, the claimant must be able to satisfy the requirements referred to above over a period of 12 years. After 12 years, the paper owner will be unable to bring a claim for possession of the land—see section 15 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980). Further, after that period, the paper owner’s title to the land will be extinguished

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