small area of unregistered land between titles

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small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby pmkur » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:09 am

We are looking to purchase a house and some land but are concerned that part of the land is not shown on the title plan. The title is registered and the vendor has been the owner for c. 25 years.

From the public highway there is a straight track which was recently (2006) adversely possessed by a neighbour over which we would have a right of way. I have no issue with this.

From this track there is no fence to reach a small area of driveway before reaching 'our' gate. This area of land appears to be unregistered, is outside 'our' title plan and we would have no right of way over it. My concern is that we would neither own this or have right of way over it.

The vendor's solicitor has suggested we could adversely process this land but I feel this is unlikely given it has not been fenced off. It's pretty obvious that no-one else has used the land. The only other person who might have used the land would be the neighbour who recently applied for adverse process for the other track but deliberately excluded this area, even though there is no fence between them.

I think we could possibly gain an easement over it to give us a right of way as the vendor has used it for more than 20 years. Do you think a statuary declaration from the vendor stating that he has passed over this land without force, secrecy or permission for 25 years would be sufficient for me to gain an easement? Would it be better to request the vendor applies for the easement?

The house was build in the 1950s and the original planning application shows this area of land as being part of the garden. Older OS maps show the boundary feature being outside this area of land. I wonder if the movement of the gate resulted in the OS map being changed and the title plan being incorrectly drawn. Might this be sufficient evidence that the plan was draw with an error and have it corrected by the Land Registry? I have not managed to find a form or guidance for correcting mapping errors. I suspect the the original deed (which I have no visibility over) would show this area of land included.

I would like to be able to own this area of land. Second best I would like comfort that I will at least have a right of way over it. Any thoughts on what to do or what is likely achievable would be appreciated.

If the boundary shown on the plan was slightly inaccurate then I would have little concern. It is that presence of an additional parcel of unregistered land which I see as an issue.

Could this be solved though some form indemnity insurance?
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby pilman » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:06 pm

If this property is registered then the first thing to realise is that the Land Registry title plan does not show the legal boundary.
It shows the General Boundary, which normally shows the red line drawn as following a feature drawn on the current Ordnance Survey map. If there is no such feature Land registry will have a dotted line underneath the red boundary line on a title plan.

You should get a Statement of Truth from the vendor confirming that this parcel of land outside the red line on the title plan was shown on the original planning application as being part of the property.
The Statement of Truth should also confirm that for 25 years the owner of the property has freely passed and re-passed over this land to reach the main area of the property as shown on the title plan.

Then you should ask the Vendor to obtain an indemnity insurance policy based on the Statements of Truth.
That should cost just a few hundred pounds after evidence of such lengthy use, so it seems reasonable that the vendor pays for that policy as part of completing the sale to you.

Anyone applying to Land Registry to have a prescriptive easement registered over land shown to be unregistered land will only ever have an entry on their register of title confirming that a claim has been made.

Because there may be an unknown owner of land that remains unregistered that is all that can be done since there has been no court case where the "legal owner" of land could have been able to defend against such a claim that a prescriptive easement had been created by over 20 years use of his or her land.

That is why there is no benefit asking the vendor to make an application to have the right of way recorded. An entry on the register will only refer to the statement of truth provided.
When you have an original signed copy of such a statement that serves just as well if an actual legal owner then comes out of nowhere and tries to start court proceedings to disprove that there is a prescriptive easement over the land outside the red boundary lane on your title plan.
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby pmkur » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:30 pm

Thank you for another useful reply.

If this property is registered then the first thing to realise is that the Land Registry title plan does not show the legal boundary.
It shows the General Boundary, which normally shows the red line drawn as following a feature drawn on the current Ordnance Survey map. If there is no such feature Land registry will have a dotted line underneath the red boundary line on a title plan.


In this case the old Ordnance Survey map shows the boundary feature in a different place. Is there a method to get my solid line replaced on the Land Registry title plan replaced with a dotted line which follows the old boundary feature?

In the theoretical event that a new edition of the Ordnance Survey map showed a boundary feature being moved (by a short distance), would the Land Registry title plan change to reflect this.
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby pilman » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:43 pm

The title plan is unlikely to ever be changed.

When a property is located next to a road, there is a legal presumption that the legal boundary extends to the centre of the adjacent road. That is hardly ever shown on a title plan, even when an original deed did include half the width of the road in a conveyance plan.

Expressing a personal opinion only, I wouldn't bother about any of this if the previous owner has been accessing the property for over 25 years.
The fact that someone claimed successfully to be in adverse possession of the adjacent road used by more than one property as its access route just goes to show how simple it is to persuade Land Registry to grant a possessory title, which is when land has been exclusively possessed to the exclusion of all others, including the true legal owner.

How you do that for a road without erecting substantial barriers to stop everyone passing and re-passing along the road has always confused me.
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby arborlad » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:54 am

pmkur wrote:From the public highway there is a straight track which was recently (2006) adversely possessed by a neighbour over which we would have a right of way. I have no issue with this.




This needs verifying - have you seen any proof of the claim?
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby pmkur » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:06 am

Thank you fro the comment. I have seen the title register of this piece of land and the deed which is referenced in both this title register and the title register of the land we are purchasing.
arborlad wrote:This needs verifying - have you seen any proof of the claim?

On a side, this deed makes reference to another (weaker) right of way to the continuation of this path. This is separate from the short piece of driveway previously mentioned but is also unregistered. Given it is unregistered I cannot see it's register. Do you have a feel for how much reliance can be gained from this given it is only a reference in another document?
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Re: small area of unregistered land between titles

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:46 pm

Hi pilman,

How you do that for a road without erecting substantial barriers to stop everyone passing and re-passing along the road has always confused me.

the owner would not bar access to those who own a ROW, so why would it be expected of a squatter?

maybe that is the logic...

kind regards, Mac
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