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What is Adverse Possession?

Jul 31, 2023


Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in which I am going to be taking a look at boundary surveying matters. In today’s blog post, I am going to look into what is adverse possession?

Adverse possession is a legal principle in which one is able to use it to gain land and become the legal possessor of said land despite them not being the legal owner.

A significant piece of legislation that governs the requirements for adverse possession of registered land is The Land Registration Act 2002 which came into force on the 13th October 2003. This put forward certain requirements and criteria that one would need to complete o have a successful claim of adverse possession.

One of the requirements for adverse possession is that you must be in control of the said piece of land unknowing that it was not in fact your land for up to a period of 10 years (for land that is controlled by the crown the period is increased up to 30 years).

The claimant must also have been responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the land and as such have treated the land as their own if they are trying to acquire it through adverse possession. This could be seen as simply putting up fencing on the land or making alterations to it, clearing the land, etc.

Other criteria as outlined in The Land Registration Act 2002, is that the one who is trying to claim through adverse possession must have also not been given permission to use the land by the actual owner.

There are cases where squatters were in possession of a piece of land for over the 10-year mark but were not able to gain actual possession of the land as the owner had been aware of them on their land and allowed them to use the land.

So it was deemed that as permission had initially been granted and they were allowed on the land and to use the land by the actual owner, so they could make no claim to be the actual owner of the land. As the actual owner would not need express permission to use their own land.

To make a claim of adverse possession itself is relatively simple. According to The Land Registration Act 2002 this has to be done through  HM Land registry by filling out the ADV1: registration of a person in adverse possession form.

There is a fee for filing the form which will vary depending on the value of the land that you are attempting to claim and the method used to send the form. For land that has a value of up to £80,000.00 the cost for the form by post will be £45.00, whereas for land that had a value of £500,001.00 to £1,000,000.00 the form would come with a fee of £655.00.

Once a claim has been made upon a piece of land the HMLR will notify whoever the land is registered to which they will have an opportunity to respond to the claim for adverse possession.

This must be done within the notice period of 15 business days for the objection to the adverse possession to count. If it is done after 15 days then the objection will not be taken into consideration.

I hope this gives you further insight into what adverse possession is and the different legalities that surround the process. If you have any further questions about adverse possession or of any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont then please do not hesitate to get in touch now by either giving us a call or popping us over an email and one of our team of experienced surveyors will be happy to assist and advise you.

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