How do I purchase unregistered land?

Readers Question - Published on 20/04/2017
View Member Profile

I am purchasing a property that has right of way over a parcel of unregistered land and I wish to include said in the purchase.

The property is being sold under Probate, by the executors who are the children of the deceased owners.

The property has been in the family since 1973. The parcel of land has no Title Deeds and the children always thought it was owned by their parents.

My solicitor says the fact that the children didn’t own the property makes it impossible for them to make a Statutory Declaration for Possessory Title or Affidavit.

How can I acquire the land?

Many thanks




  • Member of The Landlords Union - Click Here for Details

    Adverse possession is the only route I know of. But then I’m totally unqualified in this field.

  • Are you seeking to acquire the land or just to have a right of way over it? Do you have any idea who owns it? Your solicitor may well be correct but the family may be able to make a statutory declaration that they visited the property over the years and that they saw the right of way being exercised. Something is better than nothing.

    In this situation you normally have two mutually exclusive choices:1 Make extensive enquiries of neighbours to try to establish the facts but risk the owner of the land objecting or 2 obtain defective title indemnity insurance. The choices are mutually exclusive because insurers will not provide cover if you disturb “sleeping dogs” by asking around. Also you MUST tell insurers if you or anyone you know of has made such enquiries. The insurers will want to see evidence that the right exists – viz the statutory declaration as a minimum.

    Insurance is NOT a complete answer and does not guarantee you the right of way or possession of the land. It just means the insurers will step in and seek to buy off the true owner or (in the case of a right of way where ownership is not the issue) contest the objection to the exercise of the right. Failing that they may compensate you for the diminution in value of the land because of the loss of the right. If you intend to redevelop and the right of way is critical, insurance may not be enough.

    I am afraid it is going to cost to get proper legal advice.

  • I believe Ian is correct, I recently sold a property along with a small parcel of unregistered and possessed (LOL) land,the purchaser formerly a legal secretary, wished to register the land (I have seen she has now started work on it so I assume it all went through ok). We made declarations as to our use of the land during the period we owned the property (only 2½ yrs) and we had a neighbour who had assisted in the erection of the walls enclosing the land make an appropriate declaration – the former owner had moved abroad so this was an easier route than tracing him.



Profile has been updated! Click here to view


Share with your friends?

Please share this article via one or more of the following social networks

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedin ×

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.