Oops - we've been using someone else's land

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Oops - we've been using someone else's land

Postby hidden_depths » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:34 am

Hi
when we purchased out house 19 years ago we knew some of our garden did not belong to us & beyond keeping it tidy left it alone.

We've now discovered another piece of land at the back of the house which we have cultivated and altered (it sloped & we put in a retaining wall) also does not belong to us. We always believed it was ours & the person we bought the house from also thought it was hers and had cultivated it for years.

We now find that someone who owned the house next door for a period of two years retained title to this land & the other piece of garden we knew was not ours when he sold the house four years ago.

The alterations we've made can clearly be seen from the road & the owner lives nearby, so I expect he knows we're cultivating it & have improved it.

So where to do we stand, we're not in a position to offer to buy it, & a couple of years back I contacted him about renting the patch I knew was his and he never replied to the three letters I sent.

Comments would be appreciated


JHD
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Postby gardenlaw » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:44 am

You could,of course, do nothing and if he tries to say you are trespassing invoke the Limitation Act 1985. This says that once someone has openly occupied and used land without the consent of the owner and not paid for its use for a continuous period of 12 years or more it is too late for the owner to get you off. That will then depend on evidence and a Judges decision. Clearly this would be an expensive route for both sides. He still remains the owner.

You could try to claim possessory title via the Land Registry but you have to be well prepared before doing this. Look at

http://www1.landregistry.gov.uk/assets/ ... rpg004.pdf

and

http://www1.landregistry.gov.uk/assets/ ... rpg005.pdf
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Oops - etc.

Postby hidden_depths » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:09 am

Thanks - that's useful & I'll study the documents you attached.

My only concern is not getting sued for trespass, but he's had a long time to do it. He never showed any interest in any of this land and does not upkeep either plot in any way - I think if we made him an offer for the land he'd sell if it was enough money, but we're in no position to do that.

It's all very odd, the land has no value to anyone but us, I've no idea why he retained title, perhaps he plans to buy our house if ever we sell?

thanks again

JHD
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Postby gardenlaw » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:41 am

If you feel you can claim possessory title of the land do not offer to buy it or rent it. If you do you will lose this possibility. Read the Limitation Act 1985 carefully before doing anything.
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Oops etc.,

Postby hidden_depths » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:35 am

"If you feel you can claim possessory title of the land do not offer to buy it or rent it. If you do you will lose this possibility. Read the Limitation Act 1985 carefully before doing anything"

Yes I been thinking about that, I did enquire about renting the plot adjacent to the front garden 2 years ago, but of course not knowing some of the back was also his I didn't get specific about what land I was referring too. I wonder if this has blown my chances of 'annexing' the rear plot. Though it still comes down to the fact that I'm using the land & he knows it, I'm only trying to keep out of trouble. Ownership is a secondary issue for me.

On the plus side, I can get statements from former owners of our & his house going back 25 years + that they believed the plot at the back went with my house.

There are terms in the leaflets I dont understand, but I have housing (not land) law experts at work who may help me understand them.


Thanks agin for your interest - JHD
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oops etc.,

Postby hidden_depths » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:38 am

On reflection, we've decide to do nothing and just carry on using the land as suits us. I don't think it's in our interests to do anything.

Because it's on a bank there are issues with soil erosion & also garden at top of bank drains onto it.

If we owned it it's our problem if we don't own it we can ask owner to sort any issues that should arise.

Also in th end he knows what's going on, i've attempted to approach him on his plans for the land & got no response, so I think we just carry on regardless

cheers for your interest

JHD
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