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Property/DIY

people claiming land as their own next to their homes...

26 replies

canttouchthis · 26/06/2009 11:22

Recently I've noticed a family who have a patch of grass next to their end terraced house but they've built a fence round it to claim as their own (not sure if they have put permission in for that piece of land or not), so I've contacted the council, who won't give me a straight answer either way and now have made it look like i've lodged a 'complaint' when all I was doing was actually enquiring if it belongs to them or not.

anyone else encountered this kind of problem in their area?

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LilTulip · 26/06/2009 14:09

The Council are not obliged to tell you whether they have permission or not.

If they applied to the council they would have had to buy the land, the council doesn't give the land away to anyone who asks. Also a notice should have been placed in the local paper to give people a chance to object.

If they don't have permission then the council will make them take the fence down.

I'm not really sure what your problem is. Do you want to do the same or is it because they may not have permission?

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hatwoman · 26/06/2009 14:19

do they own the house? in which case they might actually own the land as well?

you can't expect the council to say anything more than "thank you for alerting us to this, we'll look into it". You certainly can't expect them to tell you whether they own the land or not. if you're that bothered you could probably find out through the land registry people - I think they charge you.

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jumpingbeans · 26/06/2009 14:20

Why would you ring the council to enquire if thy own it, whats it got to do with you, still i suppose every street has one

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Meglet · 26/06/2009 14:22

i've seen this done in both the streets i've lived in. I have a feeling that if the council don't stop them then it belongs to the house after a certain amount of time, but I could be completely wrong.

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magnolia74 · 26/06/2009 14:25

Our neighbours opposite are end terraced with huge bit of grass, they park two vans every night on there. It does annoy me a bit but it's not really any of my business so I don't say anything. Except on here

It doesn't affect you so what's the problem?

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moosemama · 26/06/2009 14:40

Was looking a similar issue up only yesterday. They can only apply for ownership via adverse posession if they've used the land for 10 years and can reaonably prove they had reason to believe that it belongs to them.

here

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Meglet · 26/06/2009 14:52

not sure how someone prove they thought it belonged to them. i've got a copy of my deeds and it doesn't take a genius to tell what's mine and what isn't. Its a bit bloody cheeky IMO.

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canttouchthis · 26/06/2009 15:29

thanks Meglet, for seeing where I am coming from here.

what gives them the right to just assume they can have that piece of land?

Yes, I'm nosey, and yes, it's none of my business, but the fact that DH commented on it (and he NEVER comments on what neighbours are doing, he doesn't give a toss) really made me wonder too if what they are doing is being 'wide', so to speak.

The back fence is adjacent to the gable end and is fenced off, so if the land really was theirs why would it have been fenced off like that to begin with? Surely if all the land was theirs, then they would have had a fence round the front, side and back??

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MaybeAfterBreakfast · 26/06/2009 15:54

Where we used to live we had neighbours who did this with disused land behind their houses. About 8 households did this and wanted us to join them, the idea being that if we all extended our gardens and put up fences it would look like the gardens had always been that way. We declined, and the rest of them annexed land and built new fences. Our garden then looked anomalously small in comparison (a PITA as we were about to put the house on the market).

We thought the idea sounded wrong from the outset so contacted the council to see if they knew who the land belonged to. Turns out it was council land. The council then served notice on them to return the land to its previous state and imposed hefty fines. None of the neighbours would speak to us again and one of them keyed our car.

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canttouchthis · 26/06/2009 16:03

maybeafterbreakfast, I'm sorry what happned after you reported them, but at least you done the right thing by everyone. You can't blame yourself for that.

thanks for sharing your experiences, I feel like I'm the only one that's noticed this...

Ofcourse, I could be barking up the wrong tree, and maybe the land does belong to this family (in which case I'll look like a right twat, but at least I will have satisifed my curiosity).

maybeafterbreakfast, did the council tell you the land belonged to them when you contacted them regarding this case?

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moosemama · 26/06/2009 16:04

Exactly what I though Meglet. Apparently having the deeds doesn't automatically make you the owner if you can't prove you have set foot on the land in the last ten years. Proving belief of ownership would be through dated photographs and years of continuous use and adverse possession of the property.

Its all very odd really, but was designed to help people to take ownership of the thousands of houses that stand empty for years and then fall into decay. As far as I could tell, the legislation wasn't really aimed at dealing with smaller pieces of land adjacent to peoples houses, but it does appear to encompass these sorts of situations.

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spiralqueen · 26/06/2009 16:34

We have slightly different problem. We are the end of 3 houses and there is a back gate that leads along a passageway to the carpark, both the other houses have gates onto the passageway. The middle neighbour has effectively annexed the passageway, filling it with plants, storing all sorts of crap precious belongings in it and building a pergola over it.

He has been known to sleep out there in the summer, use it as a urinal and dry various bits of meat and fish by hanging them up from the pergola.

The council have tried to get him to stop drying meat & fish but it only lasts a short while. Solicitors letters have also had no effect.

We are effectively barricaded in and can't use the passageway so we are concerned about him potentially gaining adverse possession.

Not trying to hijack your thread Canttouchthis but an illustration of how what seems insignificant at the start can lead to major problems.

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spiralqueen · 26/06/2009 16:38

PS: I have a vague recollection of seeing a programme on TV which suggested doing what your neighbours have done as a way of eventually improving the value of your house.
Perhaps maybeafterbreakfast's neighbours saw it too

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JamieJay · 26/06/2009 16:45

We live in a end terrace and have just extended our fencing to include the land to the side of house.

I can categorically state that the land does beling to us having checked the deeds, all I can assume is it wasn't fenced in originally as the developers were trying to save money adn just fence the minimum. We didn't contact the council as we don't permission to erect a fence around our own garden.

We also definately did not feel the need to inform our neighbours as it's nothing to do with them and I hope they have the common politeness to keep their noses out of our business unless it has a direct impact on them.

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canttouchthis · 26/06/2009 16:49

good for you, jamiejay. at least you knew the land was yours anyway. some people will chance it and build a fence around and hope for the best

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MaybeAfterBreakfast · 26/06/2009 20:49

canttouchthis - yes, the council told us the land was theirs over the phone. They sent someone out to have a look within an hour of me calling them. He made lots of notes and took photos.

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tagragra · 09/08/2014 13:07

there is a bit of land in the back of my garden,we know that it belongs to the council,but is in very bad state.initialy the property developer planted some shrubs etc...but the kids dugs them all out except one bush.according to one resident in my street it is our responsibility to looks after that bit of land along with something else.but the council never enforce that ,so it is annoying to see that land in such bad state ie people use it for dog ..... and even seen people drinking alchoohol etc...anyway I started looking after it ,planting shrubs ,plants you name it ,looking realy good but it has cost me money and time .
everyone that passed in the street said how good it looks and some wondered why I am doing it ,some said fence it some said why don't you claim it etc...I need to say that there is a manhole drain and also street light
I feel more confortable if I own it ,I would not mind buying if it reasonably cheap
anyone has an opinion on this
started doing all the gardening the last 2 months and I am enjoying it and still buying plants etc....

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BreakOutTheKaraoke · 09/08/2014 13:17

It's possible the council may sell you it, and reasonably cheap if it's similar to my local council. If you have a search on their website regarding 'Right to buy' it should come up with an address or email to contact them about it.

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Spickle · 09/08/2014 15:32

When I sold my previous house last year, my buyer's solicitor queried our title plan as it appeared to show our garden shorter than it actually was. Turned out the original builder of our house put the fence round a piece of land at the bottom of the garden which wasn't his to sell. In order to satisfy my buyer's I had to apply for possessory title (the land was unregistered) and, as I had lived there for 14 years, I got without any objections. I think years ago, people could put fences around land and once 12 years had passed, could claim it as their own. Don't know if the rules have changed since then though.

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tagragra · 09/08/2014 18:49

thank you both .may be I wait a year or two before I contact the council about right to buy.
let the plants and shrubs get established so that it looks been looked after for a while.
what about if they ask me to remove all the huge decorative stones I put there and ask me to remove the shery tree too and all the plants ,that would a sad day.
officials can be impredictable---sorry about my orthographe

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LL12 · 09/08/2014 18:52

My old neighbours did this, they didn't own the land.

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tagragra · 09/08/2014 23:58

LL12 WHAT HAPPENED AFTER?DID THEY CLAIM OR BOUGHT THE LAND.

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MysteriousCircusZebra · 10/08/2014 00:03

My aunt did this about 35 years ago. I believe she's registered it as her own now. Only a few years ago though.

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HaremScarem · 10/08/2014 02:15

You can find out who owns the land by contacting the land registry. WEBSITE HERE. It is possible to fence off land and claim adverse possession after 10 years. There are various criteria to fulfill and some exemptions. HERE are the land registrys guidance notes of adverse possesion

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LL12 · 10/08/2014 08:13

They did remove the fence after a few months so I guess they were reported to the council.

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