Help buying neighbours land

Help buying neighbours land

9:36 AM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago 10

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I am currently looking into the possibility of buying a small piece of land (less than 9m2) from my next door neighbour.

I have spoken to her about the purchase and she is happy to proceed at the right price. I have spoken to my solicitor who has quoted £850. That seems a lot of money for what seems a quite simple task.

I have a mortgage on my home but she does not have a mortgage and has lived in the home for over 50 years. Her home/ plans/ drawings is not on Land Registry but she claims the land is hers – should I question this before I purchase? In my deeds there is a written agreement between both my neighbours to cross my land to get onto this small piece of land. It used to be an outside toilet and storage shed (no longer in existence). They have not crossed my land in years and do not use the land.

My neighbour has not used this piece of land for years and left it overgrown, until last year I knocked down the fence and cleaned it up (with her permission) because it was leaning and stuff growing up against my house and she is an old widow so couldn’t do it herself. I now use the land to store wood and my bins.

Is it an easy task to changing the title deeds with the land registry and drawing up the new plans? as I don’t want to pay £850. Should I contact my mortgage provider?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.




by Neil Patterson

9:49 AM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Hi Lauren,

Yes you definitely need to question everything to avoid future problems.

It sounds like there might be complicated access issues and also questions over the boundaries, so I am not surprised the solicitor has quoted the sort of figure you mention as it will be just as much work as purchasing a whole house I would have thought.

The mortgage provider will also need to be informed as you are altering the security although in a positive way. Your solicitor should do all the checks and and make sure everything is done properly so you need to take their advice.

If you require a recommendation for the solicitors we use please see >>

by Ian Ringrose

16:27 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Personally I would get her to register her tidal with the land registry - it will make it so much easier when her house comes to be sold. Then her title can be split at your cost.

Another option is for an agreement saying she is giving up any title that she has or may have on the land and then for you to fence in the land and care for it, in 15 years time you can claim scatters rights. This only works if you are not going to build on it, so it is no great lose if you loose the land.

by Ian Narbeth

18:06 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

"Another option is for an agreement saying she is giving up any title that she has or may have on the land and then for you to fence in the land and care for it, in 15 years time you can claim scatters rights. "
Sorry this is not a good idea. You will have to wait years and if the old lady died and her successors in title disputed your ownership you would be back to square one. Also you will get a possessory title rather than Title Absolute and you will have more work to do on future conveyancing. Get a conveyance now whilst you can. Unfortunately you will have to pay a proper fee for it.

I would not tell your mortgage company or else they will likely require to take a mortgage over the new parcel of land and want you to pay their solicitors' fees.

by Ian Ringrose

18:16 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

It depends on what your aim is, if your aim is to stop the weeds growing from that bit of land into your garden and grow a few veg.....

If your aim is anymore then I agree with Ian Narveth, do the full job, however you may just get a possessory title at the end anyway, as she may have lost some of her deeds.

by Tony Lilleystone

18:21 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Hi Lauren

It is desirable to take a proper transfer of the land and get this registered, as otherwise you wouldn't be able to prove ownership of the land if and when you want to sell your main property.

I disagree with Neil that there is as much work involved as when buying a whole house, because the usual local searches and pre-contract enquiries should not be needed, nor is a formal contract necessary, so I suggest you get a few more quotes from solicitors and licensed conveyancers and you can probably find someone who will do it cheaper.

It looks as if your neighbour's title isn't registered, which is quite likely if she has owned it for more than 50 years. In that case you (or your solicitor) will have to look at her title deeds to get confirmation that she owns it and can convey title to you. So she will need to find her deeds.

Ian is right, it would be better if she is prepared to register the whole of her title but there is a fee payable for this. But it is perfectly possible for you to buy the land with unregistered title, and then register it separately.

In any event you will need to have a proper plan prepared to satisfy the Land Registry's requirements. You can probably get details of companies who will do this on-line or in your local yellow pages.

One potential problem that I'm afraid does often arise when trying to buy land from elderly widows is that back in the day it was usual for property to be conveyed just to the husband. When he dies the widow inherits the property – but does not get a grant of probate/letters of administration. Without this she can't transfer title. Let's hope this doesn't arise in your case!

by Ian Ringrose

18:29 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

If all else fails remember she most lickly has scatters rights! So even if she can't find any documents there are ways forward.

by Lauren Humber

18:37 PM, 5th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Thank you everyone for your comments all advise is really helpful.

It really is a complicated one and I need to sit down and have a chat with her. I know her husband dealt with the land previously as the guy who lived in my house before me tried to get the land for free but when the husband was alive he told the old owner he wanted money for the land. I do hope she can find her deeds and plans

We have thought about sitting on the land and waiting but it's just too long a period, she might pass away and we might not be here by then and would like to build a structure on the land.

I will approach her this weekend to get to the bottom of ownership then I will get a few more quotes from solicitors.


by Tony Lilleystone

10:00 AM, 6th March 2015, About 7 years ago

A couple of further thoughts:
Consider offering to pay the widow's legal costs
Find a law-firm that is prepared to act for both sides - although this is generally frowned upon in regular property transactions it should be possible in a case like this where there is little chance of a serious conflict of interests.

by Ian Narbeth

11:38 AM, 6th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Lilleystone" at "06/03/2015 - 10:00":

Even if there is a small chance of a conflict of interest a solicitor cannot properly act for buyer and seller. This is not a case where there is clearly no conflict so I would not follow Tony L's advice.

by Si G

18:34 PM, 6th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Lauren, ask your neighbour to grant you a license to occupy the site for say 10 years as any purchase will incur fees no matter the value of the transaction.

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