Buying a house

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skanna10
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Buying a house

Post by skanna10 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:30 pm

Hi

This is my first post and I am in need of some urgent help. We are in the process of buying a house and everything has been progressing fine up to now. The survey has passed and a mortgage offer has been issued. However my solicitor has just sent me a copy of the title deed plan to check the boundaries and confirm that they are OK. The boundary on the plan only covers the house and part of the garden, and the actual house and garden extend at least 50 feet in width beyond what is shown on the Land Registry plan. So in other words, the plot being actually sold is twice the size of the plot shown in the Land registry plan. Now the previous owner has not encroached this extra 50 feet into the neighbouring (council) land. This was done by the previous owner well over 10years ago. It looks as though that owner extended the plot and then built a garage on it. This detached garage was then connected to the main house and converted into a room, again over 10 years ago. Because the land which was encroached upon is council land, at the end of a cul-de-sac, the neighbours were not involved and the then-owner possibly helped himself. The land beyond the boundary is still council owned and overgrown. My question is, what am I buying? If the boundaries are so far out, can the council claim this land at a later date? Also, these boundaries were accepted 10 years ago when the present owner bought the place. I am not sure whether to proceed with the house purchase. Its already cost me a fortune to get to this stage and I wasn’t expecting this surprise. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Sandy

Alicia
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Re: Buying a house

Post by Alicia » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:57 pm

You should ask for a plan which shows the whole extent of what you're paying for. If this plan doesn't exist then one should be made. I'm often commissioned to prepare a Deed Plan for the sale of properties - this is a normal event. If the extra land has been acquired by adverse possession then that should all be registered before the transfer to you.
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Mattylad
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Re: Buying a house

Post by Mattylad » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:42 pm

And dont complete the sale until it is all finally settled - or you will be buying into trouble.
Any comments I give here are my own opinions, for legal advise check with a qualified solicitor.

skanna10
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Re: Buying a house

Post by skanna10 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:22 pm

Thanks for the replies. When we originally viewed the property, possibly on the 3rd viewing, the estate agent casually mentioned that because there was no actual physical boundary beyond the garage, the owner had encroached about 5 feet into the adjacent overgrown council land, lawned it and then maintained this new patch of land for quite some time. I am not sure if he meant the present owner or the previous owner. Again there was no physical fence put up, but the natural overgrowth provided the division. I did not worry about this as it didnt seem significant, as even if the council did make a fuss later, the old boundary could be reestablished without much of an impact on the property.

However the boundary as per land registry plan shows that even the garage land is not actually part of the title, let alone the extra 5 feet! I think the present owners who purchased in 2001 bought the property as it stands now, so their solicitor must have made inquiries then, and they were satisfied and went ahead. The land registry plan was not altered, but the actual boundaries that had been established were accepted, even though the land registry plan showed the plot to be half the size. Should i be asking for Deed Plan as mentioned in one of the replies, and is this acceptable if the extra land in question is not legally owned by the vendor? Also if the present boundaries have been accepted on a previous purchase some 10 years ago, and have therefore been around for at least 10 years plus, is there some point in time when they become legally binding?
Thanks again for this useful information.
Regards
Sandy

pilman
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Re: Buying a house

Post by pilman » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:00 pm

You need to find out, without asking the council directly, whether the land you refer to as council land is registered with Land Registry or remains unregistered.
If you have this done by your conveyancer you can expect to be charged for this extra work, but if you can access the Land Registry web-site, you may be able to find out for yourself at a cost of a few pounds.
There is a map search facility where you type in an address and then position a circle over the land you need to know about. If there are no details on the land next to the house you intend buying, that will indicate it is unregistered land, which then needs a written request to Land Registry to confirm this.
If it shows a registered title, a copy of the register and title plan can be bought for £8 using the web-site.
On the web-site there is a form SIM which is for a Search of the Index Map if the land appears to be unregistered. Complete the form, enclose a plan of the area marked with the land you need to know about and send with a cheque for £5 to the Land Registry office that covers the area.
When a response is received you will know that the land is or is not registered.

If the council land is unregistered, then after 12 years they will not be able to seek repossession if the previous occupiers had been in possession for that period of time.
That means the current sellers need to have some evidence of how long before they bought the house had the extra land been occupied as part of the property they bought.
The current owners can then make an application to be registered with possessory title of the extra land by adding their 10 years occupation with the previous owner's occupation to prove 12 years had passed.

If the council land is registered and the current occupiers make an application to be registered with possessory title to the extra land that the garage is built on and the 5 feet beyond the garage they have been using, the council can object to such an application, unless the current owners claim that the land has been in their possession for a full period of 10 years because they thought the land was part of what they bought in 2001 and they have been using the land as though it were theirs since 2001.
That means they need to have bought the property before June 2001 so a full period of 10 years has passed.
That means the Land Registry have to grant possessory title if they are satisfied with these statements even if the council object. This is one of the compulsory reasons to grant possessory title set out in the Land Registration Act that changed the law about adverse possession of registered land in 2002.

As previous posters advise, this needs to be dealt with before you buy the property, so that you will be buying a freehold title and a possessory title at the same time when the purchase is completed.

span
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Re: Buying a house

Post by span » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:00 pm

And it's really the current owners who should be doing this if they intend to sell. Tell them to get on with it, and meanwhile you're going to be still looking around the market.

skanna10
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Re: Buying a house

Post by skanna10 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:41 am

Thanks to everyone for their helpful posts. It turns out that there is a separate title for the additional land, which was not sent when all the papers came through from the Vendors solicitors. So all the land is now accounted for. Thanks again.
Regards
Sandy

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