Assert your property rights or you may lose them
It's important to assert your rights over your property if you see it being used by other people.
Failure to do so could result in you losing ownership, as happened in a recent case before the High Court.
It involved a couple who owned a piece of land close to their home.
A neighbour started to use this land to park his car. The couple did not challenge this. The neighbour then fitted to a chain between two posts to cordon off the area for his exclusive use.
Again, the couple did nothing to prevent this or assert their ownership.
This went on for 20 years until the couple discovered that the land had been removed from their title plan on the Land Registry's official computerised records. Instead, it appeared on their neighbour's registered title.
The couple took legal action to recover the land but lost their case. The adjudicator held that the neighbour had acquired title by adverse possession for a period of 12 years under the Limitation Act 1980.
The neighbour still had a receipt for the chain and posts he had acquired 20 years earlier. This equipment demonstrated that he had intended to openly use and acquire the land. He had been allowed to use it unchallenged for more than 12 years and was therefore entitled to claim ownership.
That decision has now been upheld by the High Court.
Please contact Emma Dancer if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any matter relating to buying and selling a property.
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