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Claiming Ownership and Adverse Possession

Adverse Possession is the process by which a person, who is not the legal owner, can claim ownership by taking sole possession or occupation of a piece of land or Property for a specified period of time to the exclusion of the owner: usually 10 or 12 years, depending upon whether the land is registered or unregistered.

To claim ownership an occupier must establish actual possession, without permission or interruption:

  • for 12 years, of unregistered land, or registered land which ending before 13 October 2003;
  • 10 years, of registered land;
  • In both cases, an intention to take and keep possession during the above periods of time.

The key is actual possession and use or the land as if they were the owner and there is no requirement for the possession to be apparent to any inspection of land.  

As such, Property owners, especially of larger areas of Land or Property should be vigilant in monitoring land for evidence any attempts to exclude ownership: such as the erection or fences, walls, hedgerow or in some cases buildings or similar structures.

In many cases re-taking or asserting ownership will involve demanding the removal of any artificial barriers or structures and correspondence or legal action may be necessary so as to avoid allegations of damage, or to action this.

Alternatively, once the requisite period of possession has been established, an application to the Land Registry will be needed in order to solidify and record any right of ownership gained.  

In either case, our specialist team are on hand to assist and guide you through the process of making or defending any claims where adverse possession is being sought or your rights of ownership threatened.

Our Team

Lee Edwards

Lee Edwards

LLP Member and Head of Department
Claire Everest

Claire Everest

LLP Member
Heidi Pearce

Heidi Pearce

LLP Member
Hannah Fairweather

Hannah Fairweather

Solicitor & LLP Member
George Denton

George Denton

Paralegal
Sarah Packer

Sarah Packer

Paralegal
Manisha Sharma

Manisha Sharma

Trainee Solicitor

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