Could part of my land be stolen?

by Readers Question

9:39 AM, 12th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Could part of my land be stolen?

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Could part of my land be stolen?

One of my properties which is a 50 year old plus mid-terraced cottage has a front garden which has an unusual layout in that it extends all the way across the front of the house next door thereby leaving next door with no front garden since it all belongs to my property as indicated in the deeds.get orf

However in recent months, I became aware that following the sale of the house next door, the new owner erected a fence on this piece of land in-line with the partition between the two houses thereby in effect stealing part of my land. Having approached him about this, he concedes that the land belongs to me and expressed an interest in buying this portion of the land. I would also be interested in selling this portion of the land, but am concerned in case he gets cold feet and decides he no longer wishes to buy the land.

I’ve heard something about “legal theft of land” whereby a certain no of years after erecting the fence he can claim this portion of the land as his own. It may seem ludicrous as the law ought to weigh strongly in my favour, but experience tells me the law is rarely straight-forward and I would therefore appreciate any advice from anyone else who has been through a similar predicament or could assist in dealing with this matter and advising me of my rights.

Many thanks

GP



Comments

Genghis Perriaman

12:02 PM, 22nd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Geraint

Your experience strikes me as somewhat worrying. Isn't the ultimate litmus test the boundaries as indicated on land registry ? Surely whether a land "looks" as though it belongs to a property or whether one party would be disadvantaged as a result of not having the land seems academic

May I ask what resulted in you losing part of your land - was it that you didn't have the appropriate land registry plan or did the possessee tend the land for 12 years before you realised etc ??

G Brown

13:14 PM, 22nd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi GP

You'd have thought that, but the action of adversely possessing someone else's land would essentially be trespass, therefore infringing over the boundary lines on the land registry.

The latter is correct. Briefly, in the 60s land was carved up into plots. Someone mistakenly built a wall which didnt match the submitted land registry plans, resulting in a small area of the garden from mine into next door's. Over the next 30 years and various sales, each owner just accepted that the wall must be correct, despite the title deeds showing that my garden was actually in next door's, but couldnt be accessed because of the wall. My fault for not questioning the boundary lines with the physical space when I bought. I suppose the current owners would argue all they have done is to formalise land that I never suspected that I owned in the first place

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