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Adverse posession - are they entitled to small piece of land?

(21 Posts)
canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 15:12:08

In a nearby street a family have taken it upon themselves to build a fence right around a piece of land at the gable end of their house, claiming it as their own.

They may be entitled to do this if they have been granted permission, but since they've been living there for at least 5 years, why now?? Why have they just decided to build a fence round that land this year? It just seems a bit suspicious. I have no feelings either way on the family, they seem nice enough folk, but I just want to know if they are entitled to that land. Call me nosey!! lol.

I have contacted the local council and although they have replied and said they will follow up my 'complaint' (which is not how I worded it in my email, I said I was making an enquiry!) so will have to wait on further details of what happens in due course.

Will they need to take the fence down if the land is not theirs or will it be theirs now regardless?

Schoolgirl Fri 26-Jun-09 15:15:49

How do you know it's not theirs? Have you seen a copy of the deeds?

canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 15:22:19

If it was theirs then surely the part of their back fence that blends into that piece of land wouldn't be there, it would all just be one big garden?? OBviously if it was all fenced of front, side and back then they would be within their rights, but the fact that that piece of land has been lying open for as long and now they've taken it upon themselves to fence it off all the way round the gable end of the house.

I'm a bit puzzled as to why the council can't just say 'yes it's their land' rather than padding it out by saying 'we'll be in touch with further details'. It's not nuclear science.

ChocolateRabbit Fri 26-Jun-09 15:37:16

Your neighbours will only gain possession of the land after 12 years of making it clear they are treating it as their land IYSWIM and I think even on that basis, the law is changing pretty rapidly to make it harder and harder to obtain land by adverse possession.

Do the Council own the land? If so, they will probably check they have the title and then try and clear your neighbours off. If not, it isn't really their problem but might try and find out who does own it. You could try and tack it down yourself through the land registry website if you really want to know!

canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 15:39:57

thanks chocolaterabbit, will maybe check land registry, but not that desperate to know if I have to pay to find out! lol.

LIZS Fri 26-Jun-09 15:40:03

Whenthe developers built our previous house they enclosed the rear garden with a 6' wall - but for some reason doglegged one small corner which whilst outside the wall and adjacent to next door's front garden was on our deeds ! Likewise when we reinstated the fence bordering onto the pavement we moved it about 6 -12 " nearer the road so we benefitted from our land not pedestrians !

There used to be an entitlement from , I think it was, 15 years of continuous usage - so enclosing it would initiate such a claim - but not sure that applies now. If you are that bothered look up their deeds on the land registry site but the council tend not to get involved in boundary disputes unless it is public land or access infringed.

Schoolgirl Fri 26-Jun-09 15:44:08

Not necessarily. Plenty of houses have open land to the front/side of their garden. Councils don't have this kind of information at their fingertips so obviously would have to go away and check deeds etc.

It's a bit weird that you were bothered enough about it to contact the council considering it's in a "nearby street" so presumably not a direct neighbour and therefore the loss of land is of no concern to you personally.

canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 15:48:29

I do take notice of what's going on around about the area, and the council is there for a reason so I'm going through the correct avenues to find out the information. I'm not doing anything illegal, so chill with the 'bit weird' accusation.wink

Schoolgirl Fri 26-Jun-09 15:51:49

Not an accusation - just an observation! You did say in your OP "call me nosy" wink

canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 15:59:00

ok fair do's. will find out soon enough what the council come up with, as you say, they will need to look into the deeds. it may well be their land afterall (in which case I'll look like a right a*se, but still, it will have satisfied my curiosity!).

ChippyMinton Fri 26-Jun-09 16:37:57

The council won't have records about anyone else's land, but will know if it is council-owned or highway land. If that's the case they will make a decision as to whether to pursue removal of the fence, or possibly offer to sell the land to the house-owner.

If it is on a street corner, it may have been left unfenced to provide visibility at the junction.

canttouchthis Fri 26-Jun-09 16:53:35

chippyminton that's another thing that I've noticed, it is on a street corner, so the visibility is very poor now. that's another issue that is bothering me at the moment. making it harder to see what's coming down the hill now that they have a big fence up.

LIZS Fri 26-Jun-09 16:57:34

It may be there was once a covenant that a fence could not be erected so close on those grounds, even if they own the land, but it may not now be enforceable so they are chancing it.

ChippyMinton Fri 26-Jun-09 20:33:34

definately mention the reduced visibility to the council.

BetsyBoop Fri 26-Jun-09 21:56:49

if the fence is over 1m high & next to a highway they will need planning permission anyway - see here - so definitely mention this to the council

canttouchthis Sat 27-Jun-09 18:31:35

thanks betsyboop, have checked out your link. seems they may be in a spot of bother if they haven't already seeked planning permission.

ChippyMinton Sun 28-Jun-09 14:58:46

You may be able to check whether planning has been applied for on your local council website.

LIZS Sun 28-Jun-09 20:12:34

According to an article I read this weekend , anyone seeking adverse possession must now notify the current landowner that they doing so, before the time starts elapsing.

risingstar Mon 29-Jun-09 09:48:11

when our estate was built, 30 or so years ago, it was specified in the deeds and as a covenant on the whole estate that houses that had land at the side must not block sight lines on the roads. the residents association enforces this, along with other things such as caravans only being allowed for 48 hrs etc. every couple of years, someone will buy a house and either not realise this or chance their arm and stick a 6 foot fence soon comes down though!

canttouchthis Mon 29-Jun-09 19:50:47

oops, have to apologise for getting my facts wrong, the fence they've built that goes round the front is actually around 3ft (so roughly 1m??) but as it approaches the side and back it becomes 6ft.
I have checked the council website but there's nothing about this house on it sadly. Spoke to hubby about it and he said unless they are planning to extend then there wouldn't be any details on the council website about it anyway.

Catper33 Tue 30-Jun-09 00:10:58

Could they have purchased it from the council recently hence only now they are putting up a fence?? Do you know the owners?? Couldn't you just ask THEM if you need to find out and take it from there??

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