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Buying house - part of garden not included on title deeds - help?

(8 Posts)
greenfieldgirl Fri 26-Oct-12 13:56:30

We're buying a house - should be completing next week but there's a problem... half of the garden on the new property is not showing as part of the title. Current owners think they pay a ground rent on it, but they don't - we don't know who owns it. But, anecdotally we have been told that the patch of land has been incorporated into the garden for at least 25 years. We'd be bloody unlucky for someone to turn up and demand we hand it over to them.

What to do?

Should we try to negotiate a drop in price to account for the fact that we're not buying all that we thought and will have the inconvenience of sorting this piece of land out and getting it included in our title?

Should we just sod it and carry on as before?

mycatlikestwiglets Fri 26-Oct-12 15:54:01

You should be able to establish who does own it by searching on the Land Registry website - look for the address of the place you're buying and all surrounding land should come up too so you can check the boundary plans (you will have to pay a small fee to look at each one). I bought a house where the front garden was bizarrely on a separate title to the rest (good job I'm a solicitor because the useless one I instructed for the purchase hasn't noticed), although thankfully the seller owned it too so getting it transferred to us wasn't a problem.

In terms of how you proceed, well, how would you feel if someone did turn up and challenge you over the garden? If you aren't bothered, carry on to completion; if it's a major issue, I would strongly recommend getting it sorted now, before you hand over your hard-earned cash to buy the house. If you don't get the title when you buy the house, you have no guarantee that you will ever get it.

tedglenn Fri 26-Oct-12 16:08:35

If you phone the land registry helpline you might get hold of a sympathetic advisor who will tell you the info you need for free, so you don't have to pay for the plans of all the adjacent properties to work out who owns it. They seem to like identifying/ruling out 'unregistered land' and were very helpful when we had a similar conundrum.

If the land is genuinely unregistered, you should be in a good position to get hold of it (for free) as it has been used by the residents of your house for 25 years. It is a faff though, so you should ask for a reduction in price, especially if the current owners/estate agents mislead you.

middleagedspread Fri 26-Oct-12 17:59:11

Couldn't your solicitor claim prescriptive rights? It might mean a delay in completion but may be worth it for future selling.
If the EA has offered incorrect info they might be liable & should bend over backwards to assist you.

TWvirgin Fri 26-Oct-12 17:59:43

I think you have to live there for a specified amount of time before you can apply.

FourArms Sun 28-Oct-12 18:12:58

This happened to us - the seller owned both parts, but her ExDH had handled the second purchase so she'd 'forgotten' about it. Luckily because our neighbour mentioned it we got it signed across to us for about £17.

melonian Mon 29-Oct-12 15:53:30

Ask your solicitor. Usually the seller will buy an indemnity so that in the unlikely event of somebody demanding that bit of garden back you would be covered for the value of the house. But then you would have to buy another indemnity when you sell - often £150 or thereabouts.

haggisaggis Mon 29-Oct-12 16:03:14

Our neighbours at our last house had a piece of land behind their garden that was unused. THey move dtheir boundary fence so that part of the garden became part of theirs. AFter they moved (over 12 years later) we received a letter from their solicitor as the Land Registry needed more information. They asked us as neighbours to confrm that they had used this garden ground and its use was uncontested. And that seems to be have been enough since we have heard nothing more ! (Scottish Law though). So it seems that beacsue they had used the land for a significant length of time - and no one contested it - that it could be adopted into their title.

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