The Adverse Possession issues we had with our boundary dispute were at the front and rear of our property with our neighbour claiming that our rear garden fence was not in line with the Land Registry Title Plan boundary lines.
This Adverse Possession claim by us was accepted by the Tribunal judge as this boundary fence was proven to be in place for over 40 years.
Our neighbour’s front fence Adverse Possession claim was eventually accepted by the Tribunal judge due to the fact that the judge ordered that both the Leasehold and Freehold Land Registry Title Deeds were registered with the Land Registry.
After 10 years of “adversely possessing” registered land, a party can apply to the Land Registry to be registered as the new owner in place of the existing one. Broadly, the applicant must demonstrate that they have exclusively possessed the land, and that the possession was both intentional and without the owner’s consent.
However, the concept of adverse possession of registered land is inherently problematic. The doctrine is not easily reconcilable with the concept of indefeasibility of title that underpins the system of land registration in the UK. The uncertainties as to ownership which may justify adverse possession of unregistered land do not apply to registered land where the legal estate is vested in the registered proprietor who is identified in the register.
The Land Registry’s adverse possession regime is based on principles of neutrality and fairness to both parties. On receipt of an application, the Land Registry will notify the paper owner of the land – typically by providing a copy of the application and supporting statement of truth. Enclosed with the notice will be a Form NAP by which the paper owner is invited to:
- Consent to the registration of the applicant;
- Require the Registrar to deal with the application under paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 to the Land Registration Act 2002 (commonly referred to as serving a “counter notice”); or
- Object to the application on another ground (to be specified by the paper owner).
The Land Registry gives the paper owner a generous 65 business days (i.e. approximately 3 months) to respond. If the application is not opposed (that is, if the paper owner does not respond to the Land Registry’s notice, or returns Form NAP consenting to the registration of the applicant), the applicant will be registered as proprietor in place of the paper owner after the expiry of the 65 business days.
If the paper owner objects to the application, the matter will be referred to the Land Registry’s dispute resolution regime.
However, if the paper owner requires the application to be dealt with under paragraph 5 of Schedule 6, the application will be rejected without further ado, unless the applicant is able to rely on one of the three conditions in paragraph 5 (and stated as such on his application form).
This post is one of thirteen posts that are listed in a menu on my Home Page to cover all the required actions and documents that are required to resolve Boundary Disputes.