How to Prove Adverse Possession

Adverse Possession Claim

| What is an Adverse Possession claim?

  • Legal requirements to prove Adverse Possession
  • Factual Possession
  • Intent to possess the land
  • Adverse possession

Adverse Possession is a legal principle which is also commonly known as “squatters rights.” Land can be claimed in specific instances by those who do not hold legal title over that land. If it can be shown that productive use is made over land, for a period of time, then it is possible for an individual to legally acquire adverse possession of registered land.

| Legal requirements to prove Adverse Possession Claim

When seeking to make a claim for adverse possession, you must show that:

  1. You have been in factual possession of the land for a required period;
  2. You have the intention to possess the land; and
  3. Your possession is adverse, without consent.

| 1. Factual Possession

To establish factual possession, you must be in possession of the land for a period of 10 years in respect of registered land and 12 years for unregistered land. You must show that you took a ‘significant degree’ of exclusive control.

For example, consider that the land in question was entirely fenced off. If you placed a lock on the only entrance / exit and the lock remained in place for 10 (or 12) years, with no interruption or objection, then this can amount to factual possession.

| 2. Intent to possess the land

The ‘squatter’ must establish intent to possess the land for the entirety of time that they hold the land. You would need to show exclusive intent to possess the land, showing it is for your sole benefit. You could also show that you (the ‘squatter’) are seeking to exclude all others from this land. For example, you could do this by fencing the land.

| 3. Adverse possession

This requirement is self-explanatory in the sense that you have taken possession without any objections and/or consent of the original land owner.

| Instructing Solicitors

If you believe you may have a claim for adverse possession, we would strongly advise you to speak to solicitors. Likewise, if you are concerned that someone may be attempted to claim part of your land by adverse possession.

Applications for adverse possession are dealt with by HM Land Registry. The Land Registry will check that you have satisfied all legal requirements before providing legal possession of the land. If the land is registered, they will serve notice on the current landowners confirming that you have made an application for possession.

The property disputes team at Levi Solicitors are experienced in adverse possession claims. We can provide you with in-depth advice and, if necessary, submit an application on your behalf. Call us today on 0800 988 7756 or submit an enquiry.

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