Property Avoidance Measures for Adverse Possession and Human Rights
Adverse possession is a cause of action by which a landowner may be deprived of his property by a squatter. All such actions were, until recently, governed by the Land Registration Act 1925 (“LRA 1925”) and the Limitation Act 1980, as amended (“LA 1980”). The introduction of the Land Registration Act 2002 (“LRA 2002”) in October 2003 fundamentally changed the way in which an action for adverse possession of land or property could be brought by a squatter of registered land. For owners of unregistered land, the LRA 2002 has had little impact. The introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA 1998”) has only recently provided a degree of protection, principally for registered land. Any protection offered to owners of unregistered land is currently untested. This briefing note aims to provide some helpful measures that landowners of both registered and unregistered land should consider in order to avoid an action being brought against them for adverse possession of their land.
How Do I Know if my Property is Registered at the Land Registry?
Your solicitor will most likely have provided you with a copy of the Land Registry title of your land when you acquired it, if it was registered with the Land Registry. If in any doubt, we will be able to advise you.
The Elements Required for a Claim of Adverse Possession for Registered and Unregistered Land
The essential requirements for a claim of adverse possession of registered or unregistered land is for the squatter to show a continued possession over a defined period of time, known as the limitation period. In order to be successful in his claim, the squatter is required to satisfy the following criteria: he had “actual” possession of the land, for instance, to the exclusion of all others unless by invitation or permission. The nature of the land and how it is used by the squatter will assist in determining the level of...