https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2014/01/22/registered-unregistered-land-that-is-the-question/

Registered or unregistered land, that is the question

One of the most popular questions we are asked is who owns a particular piece of land or property. Usually, we can give the answer because it is registered and the details are readily available online or in some cases only by post.

But what about the bits which aren’t registered? How do you go about trying to find out who owns these?

shed2Well, the simple answer is it will often come down to your own detective work, where the land or property is located in the country, and sometimes luck!

Over 80% of England and Wales is now registered and large parts of the land that aren’t are most likely to be owned by the Crown, the aristocracy, or the Church. The reason why it has never been registered is that it has never been sold, which is one of the main triggers for compulsory registration.

Some people think that unregistered land isn’t owned by anyone or refer to it as ‘no man’s land’. But this isn’t right. In England and Wales, all land is owned by somebody, even if the legal owner can’t be identified. For example, ownerless property (referred to as Bona Vacantia) can pass to the crown by law.

So, where to start?

Once you have checked and are sure that the land or property isn’t registered, then it is probably best to start your detective work in the surrounding area and make enquiries. You could:

  • ask any neighbours or adjoining landowners whether they know who the owner(s) might be;
  • ask local residents, who may have lived in the area for a number of years and who have ‘local knowledge’, to see if they have any ideas about who might own it;
  • ask in the local pub, post office or shop;
  • check adjoining registered properties for clues, they may refer to a deed or document which affected not only that registered title but also ‘other land’. The other land may have included the unregistered part and the deed/document will refer to the parties to the deed, which may give a clue as to the owner on a specific date;
  • search county or local authority records for clues - Yorkshire and Middlesex have their own deeds registries, but to make a search you need to know the name of  previous or current owners, whilst other counties have County Records Offices;
  • check with your local authority to see if any planning applications have been submitted over the years. By law, applicants currently have to sign either a Certificate A to say they are the owner or Certificate B where they say they have served notice on the owner who they have to name; and
  • check your local electoral register.

Online forums such as Money Saving Expert and Garden Law sometimes suggest ‘doing something’ to the property or the land, such as putting up a sign. This may or may not be appropriate, so before doing this, it's advisable to check with a solicitor if your actions would break any laws.

286 comments

  1. Comment by Jeffrey Shaw posted on

    Why no reference to two other useful resources: the Yorkshire Deeds Registries [three, i.e. one for each of the pre-1974 Ridings] and the Middlesex Deeds Registry which is now part of London Metropolitan Archives?

    Reply
    • Replies to Jeffrey Shaw>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Jeffrey - we have mentioned them both in bullet point 5 but your additional information adds to the mix, thank you

      Reply
  2. Comment by Janet Vinnicombe posted on

    Would I find a small car park on a small estate registered on here? This car park is in a terrible state with really deep potholes all over it. It is car park to about 6 shops in a small shopping precinct.

    Reply
    • Replies to Janet Vinnicombe>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Hi Janet - you can't find out on this blog so visit our guidance on Property Ownership to see how you can check online or by post.
      I would recommend trying the online service but if no information is available then a postal application will confirm whether the land is unregistered or not
      http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-ownership

      Reply
  3. Comment by Syd posted on

    Great piece, how does 'all land is owned by somebody' relate to adverse possession?

    Reply
    • Replies to Syd>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Thanks Syd - adverse possession is commonly called "squatter's rights". Sometimes a person occupying land without the owner's consent for a period of at least 12 years can acquire title to that land. However, the law on this subject is complex and each case is judged on its own merits.
      It only relates to land ownership in so far as the process both in law and registration can change depending on whether the ownership is registered or not.
      The process of claiming possession is not dependent on who owns it but is reliant on fulfilling the requirements to have effectively taken possession.
      I hope that makes sense but if you want to read more about adverse possession then our Practice Guides 4 and 5 explains it in more detail.
      http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/professional/guides

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Syd posted on

        Thanks so much for that, you are mine of information!

        Reply
        • Replies to Syd>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Thanks Syd - land registration can often be very informative and interesting!

          Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Michael Reed posted on

        Hi Adamh you state "The process of claiming possession is not dependent on who owns it but is reliant on fulfilling the requirements to have effectively taken possession." OK so what constitutes "effectively taken possession?"

        Lets say "A" was the owner of the land for say 30 years and lets say "B" had occupied the land for say 3-4 years but had been required by "A" to transfer the land to "B" and pay all legal fees , but "B" never carried out "A" wishes and just occupied the land.

        Then "C" comes along and buys the land from "A" with a statutory declaration from "A" stating that "B" never transferred or registered the land so was occupying adversely over say 3-4 years.

        I suppose the question is how does a statutory declaration stack up when it is in the owner favour?

        Reply
        • Replies to Michael Reed>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Michael - the law around claiming land is very complex and if this is an actual scenario then I would suggest seeking legal advice.

          I would though comment that in your scenario A is the legal owner so C is unliely to rely on a stat dec from them but on the actual deeds and a transfer of ownership. B's claim may be in doubt as well if A had consented/agreed to him occupying the land and 3-4 years would not be sufficient to mount a claim anyway.

          As far as the supporting evidence is concered, namely the stat dec/statement of truth, it has to be considered on merit and then as part of the registration process. And our Practice Guides 4 and 5 cover the registration requirements/process for you.

          https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/land-registry-practice-guides

          Reply
  4. Comment by BakerLady posted on

    Useful post. But what happens when you know the name on the Register, but can't track them down? For example a building company who registered the title nearly 60 years and that you can't find any information on!

    Reply
    • Replies to BakerLady>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      BakerLady - their ownership remains true but if the company no longer exists then the asset may have passed to the crown in much the same way as when a private individual dies intestate.
      You are probably going to need to research bona vacantia
      https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/bona-vacantia

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by BakerLady posted on

        Thank you for the impressively speedy reply! In this case the 'land' is an alley bordering our property and seemingly still registered to the builders who built the original houses in the 1950s and long since dissolved. I presume alley is not of interest to the Crown under Bona vacantia, and that it would be disclaimed if BV requested. What would it mean for the land to officially be disclaimed? I read the original title would be 'extinguished' so would this mean the land would end up effectively 'unregistered'? Thanks

        Reply
        • Replies to BakerLady>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          BakerLady - You are really going to need to get legal advice around the subject as we cannot advise on BV as such hence my link to the online guidance on GOV.UK
          The legal advice could also cover the issue you presumably have with regards the land/alleyway as well

          I should stress though that it is rare for any class of title other than a leasehold tenure to be disclaimed so in essence a leasehold title may be determined and closed but the freehold remains registered.

          Reply
  5. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Gill - It is not clear what precisely you are querying.

    If your query relates to obtaining the land on which the garage stands, you should contact the The Crown Estate.

    If that is not the case, then please email us at customer.service@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk setting out the exact nature of your query.

    Reply
  6. Comment by Lynda Sharpe posted on

    hello, hope I haven't replicated this queery but here goes.
    I have found some land that is derelict and overgrown. I have completed land searches, then a SIM via the website. The SIM shows no records in respect of this property. What, in basic language, do I need to do now? I have been told I can post notices saying 'no trespassing' with my phone number around the land and put an advert in local papers and hope this flushes an owner out, then offer to buy if that is the case. What if no owner contacts me? How long do I put the signs up for before I 'occupy' [use] the land. Is there any legal protection for the time I am using the land to stop an other from muscleing in and trying to force me off [unless it the owner of course] - like registering an 'interest'......I want to do things legally and safely so please help!
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Lynda Sharpe>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Lynda - if you want to try and identify the owner and/or stake a claim on the land perhaps then I would recommend you seek legal advice.
      We cannot advise you on the law and what you can or cannot do in such circumstances I'm afraid and whilst this blog article is 'public' it is rare for anyone else to comment.
      If you are looking for some wider advice/experience re such matters then it mighyt be worth trying online public forums which deal with such discussions

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Lynda Sharpe posted on

        thanks, it seems that's the likely option. have looked at the govt website regarding this, its very complex and not something I can easily get my head around!
        Hope I can find a friendly legal chap!

        Reply
        • Replies to Lynda Sharpe>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          I'm sure it is somehting which crops up quite a bit so may be worth researching online first and then perhaps getting a referral by your CAB to discuss with a local solicitor for a fixed time (30mins/1hr) on a fixed fee perhaps.

          Reply
          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Lynda Sharpe posted on

            well, there is lots on the govt website, goes into almost foreign language and little on other websites so far. I do have an idea of how I can progress this and yes, I will talk to the CAB or solicitor before I do anything.
            thanks again

          • Replies to Lynda Sharpe>

            Comment by Anna Khi posted on

            Hello, Lynda. I have noticed this old post of yours and was wondering whether you went on with your idea and if yes, what was the result?

          • Replies to Anna Khi>

            Comment by Kendra posted on

            Hiya I’ve noticed both yours and Lynda’s posts and wondered if you had a result from your land enquiry . Regards Kendra

          • Replies to Kendra>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Kendra - it's rare for commentators to return to the blog. It tends to be online forums where people engage with one another over time and blogs may not have the same functionality to trigger them to return to comment further.

          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Kendra posted on

            Hi yes I understand. Maybe I need to start a new feed for my query. Kendra

          • Replies to Kendra>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Kendra - not really as likely to only get a reply from us here at HMLR unless you mean on the other two forums suggested of course

          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Kendra posted on

            I’m new can you tell lol. I’m a bit stuck over a section of land I like, I’m awaiting the postal results from LR, but not sure where to enquire once they come are received.

          • Replies to Kendra>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Kendra - wait for the result as if it's registered you know where to go next. If it's not then the blog helps unless you are thinking of trying to claim it at some point. If so then I'd sugegst Garden law as a helpful forum where such things are often aired/discussed

        • Replies to Lynda Sharpe>

          Comment by Kendra posted on

          Hi Lynda

          Did you eventually find the owner or are you in the middle of adverse possession. I am in the same situation that you were first in and I would be interested to see how you have got on. Kendra

          Reply
  7. Comment by Beverley Daly posted on

    We have recently moved into a property that has a piece of semi over grown land beside it. There is direct access from our garden into it and woodland steps from our garden are carved leading into it. It is land locked and fenced on all other sides by neighbouring boundaries. The land is not on our deeds and doesnt seem to appear on the neighbours deeds. the two previous occupiers of our house have always used this land as their own. One had chickens on it for around 20 years. The previous owner to us used it for 8 years. My husband mentioned it to another neighbour recently who was unaware it was there. he now claims it may be his but its not showing on his deeds either. Where can we go from here? I have attached a drawing. the land is question is shaded but showing as large black dots. my property showing as Shangri La (now called Ivydale).

    Reply
    • Replies to Beverley Daly>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Beverley - if you are considering claiming the land as your own then our online guidance explains the registration requirements and process for you. Which Practice Guide, 4 or 5, is relevant to your circumstances will largely depend on whether the land is registered or not.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/land-registry-practice-guides

      You can confirm whether it is registered or not by completing a postal search of the index map

      https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/search-the-index-map

      My advice would be to complete the search of the index map application and then seek legal advice
      Note - there was no plan attached but there is no need to now do so

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by binary posted on

        Hello AdamH, Could I ask best method to proceeding. I would like to buy a piece of unregistered land which has some garages on, the owners of these garages used to pay to the local authority until someone challenged the authority their ownership of the land which they didn't own, I have checked all local properties with no result also had a SIM with no results. I have traced the lands ownership from 1790 to 1903 and have found a family ownership up to 1963 but no deeds to confirm after 1903 so now into a gray area..would you have any any suggestions as I can't fence the land off and claim adverse

        Reply
        • Replies to binary>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Binary - if you cannot identify the current owner or claim the land then the only remaining option is probably the Treasury Solicitor who deal with land/property under something referred to legally as 'bona vacantia'

          Essentially it is the buying of land/proeprty from the crown where the legal owner has died intestate
          https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/treasury-solicitor-s-department

          Reply
          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by binary posted on

            Hello AdamH, Thank you for your prompt response, I understand the process of Bona Vacantia this would be the more expensive route because the charges and land cost are more than purchasing from an estate agent. I was wondering if it may be possible to purchase the head lease of an adjacent property which states "and other land" using this as a point of purchase, I am only interested in a legal approach to the purchase but this is a grey area for me

          • Replies to binary>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Binary - the head lease reference to 'and other land' would only be relevant if the other land was that which you refer to.
            It sounds as if you are already aware of the legal options so I would suggest speaking to a solicitor

          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by binary posted on

            Thank you for your guidance, It looks as though my reading has made good best regards

  8. Comment by Littlefletch posted on

    We've found out that a tiny patch of green next to our drive is registered but the company no longer exists !!! So what do we do now as I've had an email to confirm this???

    Reply
    • Replies to Littlefletch>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Littlefletch - if the company no longer exists then the ownership may be something the liquidator/receiver can deal with depending on how the company ceased to exist.
      There are circumstances where the ownership can pass to the crown as well and you should research bona vacantia
      You don't mention why you are trying to locate the owner but if you are uncertain how to proceed then I would recommend also seeking legal advice

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Littlefletch posted on

        Our reason for contacting owner was simply to do with cutting the trees that over hang our drive but as they haven't bothered with this patch of green for over 20 years I guess they have never been bothered!! We've had legal advice on cutting trees. It's just hunting people at a cost and we don't want the land anyway. Thanks for your info.

        Reply
        • Replies to Littlefletch>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Littlefletch - thanks for confirming.

          Reply
  9. Comment by maureen baughen posted on

    I have found out that a car parking area at the back of where I live is not registered at my local council which is Sevenoaks and that the scouts hut that is on this land is also not registered. Where I live we do not have a road at the front of our cottages so we park in the scouts car park, for which we pay them £10 a month for every car. There is a piece of land in front of where we park our cars which gets overgrown and it is left up to myself and my neighbour to keep it clear, as nobody else bothers, the scouts don't do anything with it, which I would have thought as it is in their car park they should, can you advise me of what I can do if anything and who is responsible to keep this area clear.

    Reply
    • Replies to maureen baughen>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Maureen - it's not something we would deal with or be able to advise on
      I suspect the only body who might get involved would be the local authority if by not maintaining the land it became a health risk or danger to the public. From your description though I doubt if they would get involevd.

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by maureen baughen posted on

        hi Adam thanks, do you have any suggestions, can we ask them to keep it maintained. apparently they were left the scout hut by an old scout leader years ago, so it is in affect private property, but should it not be registered?

        Reply
        • Replies to maureen baughen>

          Comment by NimishP posted on

          Hi Maureen - I am responding to your further question in my colleagues' absence.
          With regards to registration of any property, compulsory registration is only triggered if something such as a sale, mortgage, or a lease of 7 years or more is granted. If there is nothing to trigger compulsory registration, then it is up to the owners to consider if they wish to apply for voluntary first registration.
          Hope this answers your question.

          Reply
  10. Comment by Dreamcareer posted on

    Hi Adam, is it the land or the buildings on it that are registered? I have a house which is registered but I want to build an additional house on the registered land - so there will be two houses next to eachother. When the new house is built do I have to reregister the land/houses? Sorry if this is a silly question but i'm new to this:)

    Reply
    • Replies to Dreamcareer>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Dreamcareer - it's not as silly a question as you might think

      It is the land which is registered and the title plan then shows the general boundaries. Buildings can go up (or down) on the land but that does not alter the registered extent

      If you build on the land any change will only occur for example when you then sell one of the buildings and create a new property and registered title.

      Reply
  11. Comment by naffesa posted on

    Hi what if a land isnt registered and someones resides there but may not own the land

    Reply
  12. Comment by Lee Parsons posted on

    HI. Hoping you can help. I live on a new build estate as of 18 months ago. At the back of my garden there is a large tree which has grown significantly in the 18 months and is blocking out light from our garden The said tree is located on a tiny strip of land which separates my border fence with the house behind. I have contacted the developer who have given me evidence that they do not own the land and then gone to the local council however they do not have record of ownership. How can I find out who is responsable for this tree and requesting maitenence?

    Reply
    • Replies to Lee Parsons>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Lee - you would need to either search online or lodge a search of the index map. The guidance for this is linked to in the opening line of the blog
      If the land is registered then you can contact the registered owner. If it is not then the blog article explains how you might be able to identify the owner although you appear to have contacted the two most likely owners already.
      The other option is to seek legal advice as you may be able to take action, e.g. lop the tree if it is impacting on your property without identifying the owner

      Reply
  13. Comment by Ally posted on

    I live next to Rochdale canal and I have around 20+ tall trees that line right down the side of my property the trees are now dangerously close to my house, and are damaging my fencing. I have contacted various councils who confirmed they don't own the land & rivers & waterways who only own pathway and 1-2 ft of thr grass verge. I contacted land registry who confirm the land is unregistered, I just need to know what to do next..

    Reply
    • Replies to Ally>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Ally - if the land is unregistered then our other blog article may offer some ideas as to who to contact although it sounds as if you have already done some of the research suggested
      https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/registered-unregistered-land-that-is-the-question/

      I would also suggest researching what you may be able to do yourself if the trees are a danger or damaging your property - I appreciate there are 20+ in number but if you cannot identify the landowner then you may have to consider taking action yourself. The local authority may be able to advise on this or the CAB of course

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Ally posted on

        Thanks for the speedy reply. I have spoke to my local council and basically been told its not their land they can't help and offered no advice. I also contacted my local mp last year with regards to this and other matters on this un registered land and was told the same. I have researched my options and it looks as though I'm going to have to foot the bill for a tree surgeon, which is going to be VERY expensive due to sheer amount of trees and their size. Thanks for the advice but i will probably told the same thing by CAB too.

        Reply
        • Replies to Ally>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Ally - I suspect you may be right and I assume that the trees are not a 'danger' to anyone else's property or to the public at large then
          Sadly if that is the case it probably comes down to a matter of choice and as that choice seems to rest with you and the unknown legal owner then the choice is yours alone

          Reply
  14. Comment by Shirley Hicks posted on

    Hi, I live in a row of 4 terraced houses, my house being at one end. There is a ginnel or entry/alleyway that runs up the side of both end terraced properties and along the back, currently very overgrown. I've searched everywhere I can think of to try and find out who owns the land, but with no luck. Its not registered at land registry, I've checked with my local council, they dont have ownership and confirm that it is unadopted. My boundaries plan just shows a red line around my house. We are currently objecting to a planning application for a hot food take away that backs on to our ginnel. They want to use it for vehicle access, commercial waste collection just to name a couple of things. We obviously want to prevent this from happening. Can the council give permission for such access and can the applicant turn up one day and just tarmac it ?
    I have a letter from the council dated some years ago, quite clearing stating that it is a public right of way and should remain clear for emergency vehicles.

    Reply
    • Replies to Shirley Hicks>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Shirley - if the land is privately owned then the council would not be involved in granting access.
      The legal owner would be responsible for any preventative measures as they would be responsible for their own land in the same way you would be should they seek to access your land.

      You refer to it being a public right of way and if so then the council should be able to advise on any limitations which may exist.

      If you have a right of way over the land then this may be something to discuss with a solicitor as well although by the soound of it you woul dneot be denied that right of access.

      Ultimately the proteciton of such land rests with the legal owner.

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Shirley Hicks posted on

        Hi, thanks for that. We have tried to find out who the owner is but with no luck. The council have told us that the upkeep of the land is the responsibility of the residents. I have lived in the property for 20 ish years. Would I be able to claim it based on the adverse possession rights?

        Reply
  15. Comment by Phil C posted on

    Hi
    Ok my problem is as follows
    A neighbour is wanting to claim what was once an access path between our houses into an old school that is no longer used.
    He has blocked off the top of the path denying us access to our fence, he intends to knock down his own fence and extend his boundry to include our fence,
    Nobody owns the pathway anymore or owns up to owning it
    is he allowed to do this
    thanks for any help on this

    Reply
    • Replies to Phil C>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Phil C - you will need legal advice to understand what rights you may have and to consider what rights the neighbour may has as well

      All land is owned so I assume you mean that the path is unregistered. The responsibility for protecting ownership rests with the owner so your focus may need to be on the wider legal issues around the access issues you refer to

      Reply
  16. Comment by john thompson posted on

    Hi there, ive taken possesion of a piece of unregistered land that was totally overgrown and not fenced off at all. It hasnt been used or probably set foot on for say 7 yrs. I have had planning application approved to use it as a allotment with typical garden structures on it. I am now being threatend with court action by people that say they had possesion of it but have no paper title. Possesion of the land to me means actually using it and also showing that you actually posses it by say fencing it off etc. What im getting at is - is this a threat that i should take seriously as i have asked them for evidence that they had actually possesed the land as they admit they have no paper titlle to it.

    Reply
    • Replies to john thompson>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      John - you really need legal advice here to not inly understand whether you have a valid claim, how to protect it and what the counter-claimant''s position is.

      Any 'threat' to your own claim should be taken seriously as it could undermine your own efforts to register the claim in the future

      Reply
  17. Comment by Tom Kenny posted on

    Thanks for a really interesting post Adam. I have a couple of questions about the upper limits of coverage. First, I read that that all inherited/ given/ bought/ exchanged land must be registered. Does this mean that the land held by the aristocracy will eventually be registered? Second, have you estimated the upper limit on registration, i.e. the proportion of land in England and Wales that is unlikely to be registered (at least in the medium term)?

    Reply
  18. Comment by Dorrian Harris posted on

    You mention the online service in response to Janet wishing to find ownership of a car park would that work with a Bridleway,I have tried all your suggestions on here & drawn a blank

    Reply
    • Replies to Dorrian Harris>

      Comment by Ian posted on

      Dorrian - You may be able to get a result online - http://bit.ly/1ScAoID, but there would be the added difficulty of locating on our map.and getting a result for such a thin strip of land. Also, land subject to public rights of way is more likely to be unregistered as there may never have been a transaction such as sale or mortgage which triggers registration.

      If you can't get a result online, you would need to do a postal application for a SIM and provide a plan - http://bit.ly/1KYOYmT

      Reply
      • Replies to Ian>

        Comment by Dorrian Harris posted on

        Thank you for the advice which I will follow,I have learned that the land was sold in 1931 apart from a small portion conveyed to the RSPCA so I now have a starting point many thanks for the help.

        Reply
  19. Comment by Rakia BOUATMANI posted on

    Hi, what to do if someone buys a registered land and forgets for many years to do the transfer into his name as new owner of the land?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Rakia BOUATMANI>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Rakia - they can still apply and include an explanation as to why the application has been delayed

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Rakia BOUATMANI posted on

        Hi Adam, thank you for your propmt reply. The problem is that the person who bought the land passed away and it is his children who found out that he didn't register the land in his name... they (the children) know their dad, he firgets about lot of things..

        Reply
        • Replies to Rakia BOUATMANI>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Rakia - if so then his children will need probate in order to deal with his legal estate which presumably includes the land

          Reply
  20. Comment by Chris Telford posted on

    I am very confused as to whether a claim for adverse possession can be made on a piece of land that is in escheat. I have been comparing notes over the past two years with someone I met in a different online forum who has a similar issue to myself. We both have occupied for many years parcels of land which are adjuncts to our gardens, but which plots are technically "ownerless" as a consequence of being last registered as owned by parties that can't be traced. In her case, the land was owned by a corporation that dissolved a long time ago and is thus bona vacantia. I have recently heard from her that the act of disclaiming interest in the property by the Treasury Solicitor would have the effect of extinguishing the title, and that you cannot adversely possess a freehold that does not exist. I may well have got this wrong, but I would be grateful if someone could explain it in plain English. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Replies to Chris Telford>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Chris - technically there is no such thing as ownerless land
      The disclaimer by the Treasury Solicitors on behalf of the Crown means this particular estate in land will
      have ceased to exist although the land will have escheat to the Crown. In essence you are applying for adverse possession of unregistered land so you can still apply for adverse possession but a possession period of at least 30 years is required as referred to in s15 of the Limitation Act 1980.

      I should stress that this a very complex area of the law and as such applying 'plain english' may not always be possible. And we cannot really enter into a debate or discussion around the legal requirements involved and our Practice Guidance is provided in Practice Guides 4 and 5 as appropriate although they will not cover the specifics of every scenario encountered

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Chris Telford posted on

        Thank you for responding so quickly. In my own situation, I have lived here for 15 years. The person I bought the property from had used the plot as part of their garden for 10 years before that, and was also sold the property on the same basis by the earlier owner who had also been there 10 years. So we have 35 years continuous known possession of the plot by this property, though not be the same family throughout. As far as we can see, the last registered owner became untraceable around 1977. I am still unclear from which point the 30 years possession has to be calculated.

        Reply
        • Replies to Chris Telford>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Chris - you need to be working back 30 years from now if you are in possession and wish to apply to have that registered

          Reply
  21. Comment by Gaynor posted on

    We inherited land over 30 years ago, foolishly we didnt check the boundary marked. We recently tried to re register the correct boundary and were advised that we had to claim adverse possesion. Not sure where the adverse possesion came into it as we own the land. Land registry sent a man who had no knowledge of woodland to map the boundaries, our application was refused.we now have to wait 12 years! How can it be that we own land and because we couldnt prove that no one else had used it we cant register the missing bit off the plan? How do you prove that no one has been on your land? It has cost us over £1000 to have failed.

    Reply
    • Replies to Gaynor>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Gaynor - I am sorry that your application was refused. If you have any concerns over the registration process, inc the survey, then you should respond to the last communication from us, presumably a letter of cancellation.

      It may also be prudent to seek legal advice if there is any doubt around the legal requirements involved

      Reply
  22. Comment by adamh posted on

    Douglas - the property should be registered following a sale but it is down to the buyer to apply to do so in order to protect their ownership
    We will not register that purchase until an application is submitted.
    Normally an application is submitted within 2 to 4 weeks of completion but than can vary

    Reply
  23. Comment by Nicola Hampton posted on

    Adam, I'm trying to trace the owner of an un-apoted lane that I use to access my property. When purchasing my solicitor took out an indemnity to insure against removal of access rights as we only have who owned it in 1973. Locally I've been told this person sold all of his land to a local farmer, who, because there is a contentious issue, is denying he owns this tiny lane, despite owning all of the land around it! I've checked and it isn't registered. How do I go about proving he owns it as surely the sale of the land must be registered somewhere? Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Nicola Hampton>

      Comment by NimishP posted on

      Nicola - I have responded to your query in absence of my collegue, Adam.

      If as you say, the lane is not registered then there is very little that we can help or guide you with. It becomes even more difficult to prove someone owns the land if they, as you suggest, are interested in not claiming it. The only possible way is to examine old historical deeds for that and the adjoining land to piece together the jigsaw.

      The possible alternatives, apart from examining deeds of the adjoining registered properties, could be looking at National Archives, County record offices, Local libraries, etc. If appropriate, you could also look at Middlesex and the Yorkshire Ridings deeds registries, which were set up prior to land registration and kept records of certain land transactions, but the deeds were registered against the names of the people involved, rather than by an address. To make a search of a deeds registry you need to know the name of a previous or current owner of the property.

      The Land Charges Department also keep a record of restrictive covenants, rights and mortgages relating to unregistered land. These are registered against the name of the land owner at the time the entry was made, rather than against the land or property. For example, if you want to find out about a restrictive covenant that was registered before you bought your property, you need to search against the name of the owner at the time the covenant was registered.

      Hope this is of help.

      Reply
      • Replies to NimishP>

        Comment by Nicola Hampton posted on

        Thanks very much Nimish, appreciate that.

        Reply
  24. Comment by Kath posted on

    I bought my house leasehold 30 years ago. The plan attached to the lease shows that I own that part of a rear access track immediately behind my back gates and the lease includes several clauses in relation to this track. I recently bought my freehold, but Land Registry have sent back a revised plan that excludes the access track, because they say the track is unregistered. My lease was with the local authority but they have recently transferred their portfolio to a LLP. I don't understand how the council could have leased me something they didn't own. Any advice please?

    Reply
    • Replies to Kath>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Kath - the issue appears not to be with their leasing something that they did not own but the fact that no evidence has been submitted to support/confirm their ownership.

      Presumably when you bought the freehold you were provided with evidence to confirm that they owned it. If not then this is where the issue lies and you should speak to the conveyancer who acted for you and/or the local authority or LLP

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Kath posted on

        Many thanks. The conveyance was handled by the LLP for a price inclusive of legal fees. It never occurred to me to ask for evidence of their ownership. The council had notified me of the transfer to the LLP and my lease with the council was extremely detailed as to the extent of the land covered. With hindsight maybe I should have asked a solicitor to deal with the freehold purchase. I'll now contact the LLP again and ask that they submit evidence of ownership of the access track to Land Registry so that the entry in respect of my ownership is accurate. After all, I paid their price for the freehold covering the entire property , not something with a chunk missed off. Thanks for helping me understand. Kath.

        Reply
  25. Comment by Martin posted on

    We bought our present house 15 years ago, and thanks to a very inefficient solicitor we did not get the deeds for several months. I later discovered that a small piece of land between the main road and our gates was excluded from our deeds. It is the only access to our property with a dropped kerb outside. This strip is some 6 metres by 5 metres. I think that what happened when the property was first entered on the Land Registry, a surveyor assumed that the small area outside the gates did not belong to the property, and nobody questioned it. The set back gates are essential as a means to pull off the main road.
    We do know this unregistered area formed part of the property when built, as we have an aerial photo dating back to 1965 clearly showing the full plot, and the drive access right up to the highway pavement.
    When we were considering moving, I took this problem to a well-respected solicitor suggested the simplest bet was to take out insurance against anyone else claiming possession, which we did.
    I have since moved the gates and the fence to reduce the area outside the gate, and we have had the whole drive resurfaced right up to the highway pavement. Nobody has ever made any comment about ownership of this small strip, and nobody commented on moving the fence line. There is no record of previous owners, and indeed the last owner owed a neighbour a large sum for storage of many items, and my neighbour's solicitor was unable to find him and the goods were subsequently sold to cover my neighbour's costs.
    My question is would it be prudent to now put in a claim for adverse possession, or leave it and rely on the insurance?

    Reply
  26. Comment by Jean Fish posted on

    Hi,
    I wonder if you can help me. I've lived at the same property since 1977 and have maintained a small area of land since then that isn't actually on the original plans for the house. It is behind our hedge line. My son told me recently that I should officially "claim the land". It is only a very small grassed area. Please can you guide me on how I go about this, many thanks.

    Regards

    Jean

    Reply
    • Replies to Jean Fish>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Jean - claiming land is a complex area of the law so we would always recommend seeking legal advice
      Our Practice Guides 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements and if you think you satisfy the essentials then seeing a solicitor is probably the next best step
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
  27. Comment by Rob posted on

    How long have you got to occupy land before you claim it

    Reply
  28. Comment by Reeder372 posted on

    I have some land at the end of my garden that adjoins some allotments. It is fenced off from the allotment area and runs parallel with a footpath. The council say it isn't council owned and also it is unregistered with the land registry. I have asked the people on the allotments and no one knows anything. I have aerial photos from approximately 35 years ago and the land is still separate then. Could I fence off the area? I appreciate I may need to seek someone in specialist law? Thanks

    Reply
  29. Comment by Margaret posted on

    Hi we have a piece of waste ground at the bottom of our garden there is no access and we have looked after the ground for 10 year can we claim this piece of ground

    Reply
  30. Comment by Andrea posted on

    Hi. Me and my parents moved into a council house in 1978. There was some land about 40ft x 20ft adjoining a path that ran alongside our house. It was used by the local neighbours as a dumping ground, my Dad asked the council to clear it for several years but they didn't bother. So he cleared it and fenced it to try and make it look more respectable. It was fenced a lot of years before some kids came along and set fire to the fence and then what was left of the fencing got pinched. My Dad was heart broken and never replaced the fence. When my mum bought the house the deeds were drawn up which included half of this land as it was shown on the deeds to belong to the house (which we didn't previously know). Just recently I have noticed on google street view that the area has been cleaned up by the council, after about 36 years of them not doing anything. But they have encroached on our land accord to the deeds that I have from about 30 years ago. I then went and ordered new title deeds from land registry to find that the boundaries have been changed. How is this possible? Can I get them changed back? Can I claim the bit of land that will be about 20ft x 20ft with my Dad maintaining it for about 17 years before he died, even though there is no fence there now? Thanks for any advice you can give.

    Reply
    • Replies to Andrea>

      Comment by NimishP posted on

      Hi Andrea - It is not clear what deeds you are refer to. We would have based the extent shown on the Title Plan on the deed that led to first registration of the property, usually a Transfer or a Lease. If there is a discrepancy between the two, then I would suggest you write to our Citizen Centre in the first instance. If, however, you wish to claim ownership of the land based on your father maintaining it over the years, then I would suggest you refer to our Practice Guide 4 and Practice Guide 5. The two guides explain the principles and our requirements for claim of ownership under Adverse Possession. I would recommend you seek legal advice before considering any action on that basis.
      You can access the guides through the attached link - https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides
      Hope this answers your query.

      Reply
      • Replies to NimishP>

        Comment by Andrea posted on

        Hi thank you for replying to me so quickly. I was going to look at the link that you recommended but the link was incomplete so I couldn't click on it. Could you possibly send me the full link address again.
        Many thanks.

        Reply
  31. Comment by Andy Terry posted on

    There is a verge running between the outside of our house and the road that I maintained for many years believing it to be part of our property. Over 12 years ago, and registered blind I asked the Council if they could offer help in the maintenance. I waited nearly two years, but the response was that the land was "highways verge" and therefore the responsibility of the Council to maintain. Many years and emails and cajoling to get this done transpired, with occasional basic maintenance and rubbish removal. After again insisting that they cut down weeds which were encroaching upon our home, they came and obliterated everything with weed killer, such that it now looks like a war zone. Contacted local Councillor who quizzed Council, who now tell him that they don't own it, and they were only maintaining it "as a favour" (some favour!) and they suspect that no-one actually owns it. Many years ago the road was privately owned, but later adopted by the Council - all road repairs, lighting etc are now carried out by the Council. How can I find out who owns this? Can I simply adopt it, and pay someone to clean it up? Obviously it greatly effects the way our property looks, and we are planning to put it up for sale soon.

    Reply
    • Replies to Andy Terry>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Andy - the blog seeks to clarify some of the possible means of identifying the legal owner but it all comes down to local detective work normally

      Although the road is adopted that makes the council responsible for the surface only so it may be a case of looking at what properties adjoin the road and how the law may view such matters.
      Our Practice Guide 40 Sup 3 may be of interest here and section 11 specifically.
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/land-registry-plans-boundaries
      You won't be able to 'adopt it' and I guess if you wanted to pay someone to clear it up you could but you need to consider whether anyone might take exception and claim to own it for example.

      In the circumstances I would seek legal advice before doing anything with the land, especially as you now know the council have no interest.

      Reply
  32. Comment by adamh posted on

    Mona - I understand that they normally accept the result provided when he has completed a form PN1 search
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proprieters-names-search-of-the-index-pn1
    He can search against his name for £11

    If you need to ring someone then you can call us on 0300 006 0411

    Reply
  33. Comment by Elemnat posted on

    Hi, hoping you can help. We're in the process of
    buying a property. At the front of the property, the previous road was moved slightly forward by developers (built new estate close by) and had to change road layout. The original road then became unused, apart from the 2 bungalows owners to cross to gain entrance to hard stands (no dropped kerb). On making enquiries, the local council do not own the piece of land and neither do the developers. Developers did paint double yellow lines to ensure people didn't park there. A SIM Has been completed showing unregistered. Solicitor has referred to mortgage company, do you know if this prevent mortgage going through?, as she says without somebody owning the land we have no legal access to front of property. Yet current owners have been crossing it since it was altered (and prior to this on existing road layout.

    Reply
    • Replies to Elemnat>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Elemnat - that will be entirely up to the mortgage lender to decide so I'm afraid we would not know whether they would proceed or not.

      If there is a doubt over legal access to the property then in my experience this can be a significant issue and one your solicitor should be able to advise on.

      If there is no registered right then I suspect your solicitor would be asking the previous owners for some sort of statement/evidence to confirm that they had accessed the property this way for a number of years etc

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Elemnat posted on

        Thanks for the quick reply. It's now referred to legal dept at mortgage company. Vendors have always had access so fingers crossed. Thanks again

        Reply
  34. Comment by Amanda Gemmill posted on

    I am trying to claim a very small patch of unregistered land that adjoins/indents into my garden. Land registry search says unregistered with no claims, local county council/highways/developer who built houses 40 years ago all say it is not theirs. Neighbours in support of me claiming it, as it is overgrown and messy. Just filling in FR1 forms, ST1 and DL. Should I fence it in before posessory title has been granted? Would this help my application for adverse possession? Despite being a supposedly educated, professional person am finding the forms and process terribly confusing!

    Reply
    • Replies to Amanda Gemmill>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Amanda - whether it is fenced now or later will not change the facts as presented in your ST1 I assume as you are covering the period up until now anyway.
      If we do visit the site then we will see it 'as is' at that moment in time and note a new fence or not as the case may be.
      It is the whole picture inc the ST1 that then decides whether we would grant title or not

      Unfortunately the process can be confusing not least because the law around such claims is complex. Our guidance is focussed on explaining how an application should be submitted as we are unable to go into too much guidance on the law.

      Reply
  35. Comment by Ian posted on

    Our role is essentially administrative, so we have no powers or adjudication in disputes or policing matters that have taken place on the ground. We also don't hold any information on the extent or ownership of unregistered land.

    There may be a number of legal issues involved here, for example encroachment concerning a physical property boundary feature, or adverse possession (commonly referred to as squatter's rights). So you may wish to consider getting legal advice on the options open to you, e.g. from Citizen's Advice or a conveyancer such as a solicitor.

    Reply
    • Replies to Ian>

      Comment by Ian posted on

      Hello. Adam is currently unavailable but I hope I will be able to provide some assistance.

      We essentially have an administrative role and so cannot advise on legal issues such as ownership rights and also on disputes following action taken on the ground. However I hope the following general information will be of some help.

      I hope I am right in concluding that the turning circle is not included in your neighbour's title. If title to land is not obtained by the deeds, then ownership will often be sought under adverse possession of the land (often referred to as squatter's rights). This is a very complex area of the law and something on which the parties involved would need to take legal advice if there is disagreement or they are unsure how to proceed.

      The question of rights over the land and the right of neighbours' to exercise them is a separate issue from ownership, but is again a legal issue in which a number of factors may come into play.

      Sorry we can't assist further, but if the dispute continues, then I think legal advice from Citizen's advice or a conveyancer, such as a solicitor, would be needed.

      Reply
  36. Comment by Stuart bright posted on

    Can anyone help? Behind my house is an access road. The road is a dead end and finishes at a well known DIY business. They DIY business has kindly sent us their land borders and the road is not theirs. A well known car dealership backs onto the road and they too have provided their boundaries and the road is not theirs. The council have officially stated to us that it is not on their land registers. Also the land registry office say it is not registered.
    My neighbour who bought his house 50plus years ago when the properties were first built has a document stating that he has right of access and his document also appears in my paperwork for the house stating that I also have right of access. There is no mention of ownership though, just that the two final houses have right of way, mine and the neighbours.
    Is there now a process I can follow to lay claim to the land that will flush out the owner if they exist? Or can I simply apply to become the owner? Any help great fully received.

    Reply
    • Replies to Stuart bright>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Stuart - if a variety of landowners have a right of way over the land the odds of your being able to claim it as your own are very small
      Our Practice Guide 5 explains the basic registration requirements but this is a complex area of the law so legal advice should be sought as well
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

      If you are trying to 'flush out the owner' then I would sugegst researching the registered titles who have the right of access/way. Whilst some may refer to just a general right e.g. benefit of a right of way over The Road others may refer to a specific deed which then granted the right. The party granting the right would have been the owner at that time and the research can start from there

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Stuart bright posted on

        Thank you for the reply, I am more trying to flush out the owner as people have started fly tipping down the access road which is impacting car access to people's garages in their back gardens. The council will not help as it is not their road, hence trying to find the owner. The clear up costs are too large for us to afford and obviously once cleared there is nothing stopping someone doing it again.

        Reply
        • Replies to Stuart bright>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Stuart - tracing the true legal owner will come down to your own detective work and even if you do identify them then as you say they may not be willing to do anything

          As such the ball is probably very much in the court of those who use the road for access to do something themselves although what options are available is not something we would be able to advise on

          You could try online forums such as Money Saving Expert to canvas views from others who may have encountered similar issues and what they did for example to deter people from tipping etc - signage is perhaps an option suggesting cameras in place?

          Reply
  37. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Hi Gemma - It would be difficult to give a definitive answer as it varies on each individual transaction. I would also point out that Land Registry comes into picture at the end of the whole process. Registration of new owners at Land Registry generally takes place after the completion of sale, i.e. the buyers have most likely moved into the new property.

    From registration perspective, our published standard is to complete applications within 5 weeks. However, if it is a transfer of a registered property, and all the relevant documentation is submitted correctly by a solicitor, we would expect to complete it within few days.
    Hope this helps.

    Reply
  38. Comment by paul smith posted on

    Hi, I keep reading that 'All property in the UK is owned by someone!'
    My question may sound a bit silly but...here goes:
    An abandoned premises; once owned by an estate is left 100's of years ago to an orphaned individual of unknown parentage.The estate and the family of land owners; plus any legal documents no longer exist/ have died out!
    The individual moved abroad; gave up their citizenship, died without issue or making a will, but not before placing all their holdings in a company at a bank; neither of which are extant; in a nation state that no longer exists, nor does any admissible paper trail!
    The property hasn't 'returned to the crown' as it's pretty insignificant and is situated in a forest that no longer exists 😉 in a historic region that no longer exists ;)) nor has a postcode, street names, inhabitants...you get the idea...my question is: Who owns the property?

    Reply
    • Replies to paul smith>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Paul - the statement all land/property is owned by someone is a technical aspect of the law in England and Wales.
      Essentially, in such 'odd' circumstances, the law sees the land pass to the crown until such time as the crown might disclaim it for example or transfers it to someone or someone claims it as their own.
      If you research the term 'bona vacantia' you should find a general explanation but in your particular circumstances you are also bringing into play other aspects such as 'nations states' and holding companies so it really is legal advice you will need

      From our perspective if the land is unregistered then it still has a legal owner but that ownership is unregistered. We deal with registered land so if your land is unregistered it's the wider laws around bona vacantia and wills/intestacy/company etc that you need to consider

      Reply
  39. Comment by Stephen Ritchie posted on

    sometimes the council can own unregistered land, or the banks, so I have to carefully and legally go threw the proper channels, before any plans could be made by myself to occupy it. as a uk citizen I have rites and I cant be evicted, as the law states.

    Reply
  40. Comment by pinkpetalblossom posted on

    This thread is a treasure trove of information, but I cannot find an answer to my own question here.

    My late parents did a deal with a builder in 1960 whereby they gave him a plot of their land in exchange for another piece of land. There seems to have been a deed of conveyance as it is mentioned in correspondence, but I do not have a copy of this and the Solicitor's office that held the papers is now long gone. However this is not the main issue.

    A narrow but vital passageway which led from the newly acquired piece of land out to a side road was included in the deal. I only recently found out that this passageway was only a right of way and not owned by my parents.
    This gated passageway has been used since 1960 as the public entrance to the nursery which was run by my parents. All the neighbours assume the passage is now owned by myself and my sister when we inherited the nursery after our parents died, but it is not registered.
    I discovered that it was a right of way from a plan submitted to the local council by my father in 1960, when he applied for permission to put up an advertising signboard. I understand a right of way means someone else owns the land.

    Firstly I would like to understand the nature of a right of way and secondly if the owner cannot be found, as there is no dispute locally, do my sister and I have any rights to claim ownership after our family have been using this small piece of land as part of the business for over 50 years?

    Reply
    • Replies to pinkpetalblossom>

      Comment by Ian posted on

      We essentially have an administrative role and so cannot advise on legal issues such as ownership rights. However I hope the following general information will be of some help.

      Regarding ownership, if title to land is not obtained by the deeds, then ownership will often be sought under adverse possession of the land (often referred to as squatter's rights). This is a very complex area of the law and something on which you would need to take legal advice if you are unsure how to proceed. I can confirm that if the land is unregistered we would not hold any details as to ownership. But that in itself would not prevent a successful application for adverse possession of the land.

      The question of rights over the land and whether neighbours have a right to exercise similar rights is a separate issue from ownership, but is again a legal issue in which a number of factors may come into play. If the nursery land is registered any rights recorded for that land produced at the time of first registration will be recorded in the title register and sometimes a copy of a conveyancing deed is shown as filed with us (although that seems unlikely in this case from what you have said). Our online guidance explains how to get a copy of this information.

      Sorry we can't assist further, but legal advice from Citizen's advice or a conveyancer, such as a solicitor, would appear to be needed here.

      Reply
      • Replies to Ian>

        Comment by pinkpetalblossom posted on

        Thank you for your reply which was informative. I have today spoken to a solicitor about this issue, and (provided I can find the £200 per hour plus VAT that he charges!), he is hopeful he can help us.

        It might however work out not to be worth spending the money. We are next year hoping to obtain planning permission and then sell the nursery land for residential building development.
        We will need to consider whether we should just sell the land we know is ours and let the builder apply for ownership of the small passage if he wishes, or whether to try to get ownership of the passage first. Taking legal advice on that is difficult as obviously it is in the solicitor's interest that we employ him to obtain ownership, so his advice could be biased.
        Of course I know its not your job to advise on that, and I'm learning how many landmines there are in property law! But I do have one more question.

        The neighbours might also consider selling their properties to the developer at the same time as our sale, to make one large corner plot. They are the only ones who might technically have a right of way to the passage, although for the past 55 years they have never used it.

        In this case, no one would have an interest in preserving the passageway which is only 4 feet wide and 20 feet long. A Right of Way on the land would serve no purpose to anyone.
        Common sense would suggest it should be subsumed into the larger plot. But I'm not sure if common sense can prevail in that situation or whether a developer would be prevented from building on the small sliver of land because it is historically covered by a Right of Way?

        Reply
        • Replies to pinkpetalblossom>

          Comment by Ian posted on

          You're welcome.

          It is difficult to give a definite answer to your further question as much would depend on the circumstances and the title records of each of the properties involved. For example, it may be more straightforward where it is possible to clearly identify the dominant (benefiting) and servient (burdened) land in the original grant of right of way and all interested parties have joined in or consented to the transaction.

          Again this is a legal issue and a lot of factors come into play - as you have mentioned, land/conveyancing law can be very complex and may not always appear to follow what would be commonly regarded as the common sense approach.

          Sorry I cannot give a more definitive reply, but I hope this further general information is of assistance.

          Reply
          • Replies to Ian>

            Comment by pinkpetalblossom posted on

            Many thanks once again Ian. It's reassuring to know from you that this is a case where I really do need legal advice, as I didn't want to spend out a lot of money only to find I could have taken it on myself.
            Having dealt with probate without a solicitor, I was wondering if this would also be something I could tackle, but you have helped me understand that this is not a subject for an untrained novice!

            I would also like to add praise to my thanks. As someone who has had dealings with many Government Departments and official bodies in the past, I am in admiration of the valuable and helpful service you and your colleagues give to the public, especially as it is personalised, polite, prompt and no payment required!
            It's a shame the media only reports failures and negatives about public bodies, and we don't get to hear about it when something is excellent, such as the fantastic service you are providing.
            I don't suppose you can show this to your manager to get a pay rise, but you deserve it!!!!

          • Replies to pinkpetalblossom>

            Comment by Ian posted on

            Thank you for taking the time to give such kind comments about our service. It is much appreciated.

  41. Comment by Darren Spillett posted on

    I am buying part of my neighbours garden. We have agreed a fee and I have completed the relevant forms. However the land is unregistered. I can prove ownership going back over 15 years with deeds. Do I need to get my neighbour to register their whole house and land first or can I make an application to transfer and register the piece of land that I am buying all at the same time (in 1 application).

    Reply
    • Replies to Darren Spillett>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Darren - you can apply to register the land transfer as a first registration in one application as the transfer triggers the need to register.

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Darren Spillett posted on

        Thanks for the quick response. I assume I need to provide proof of ownership from my neighbour for the previous 15 years along with my application. Do I also need to prove the identities of all involved as the land is worth less than £6,000 and I am not using a conveyancer.

        Reply
        • Replies to Darren Spillett>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Darren - you will need to show title to the land through your neighbour's deeds for example and our Practice Guide explains what will be required
          https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-registrations
          Section 4.3.14 also explains the ID requirements and links you to additional guidance on evidence of identity requirements
          If the value of the land is less than £6,000 then such evidence may be excepted but please see section 4.1 of the linked to PG67 for details

          Reply
  42. Comment by SteveLR123 posted on

    Presumably the issue comes down to who are the executors/personal rep of the deceased to deal with the land and act in accordance with any Will

    Reply
  43. Comment by Tracy Searle Niles posted on

    I wonder if someone can give me some advice, I bought my house in 2003, with some land at the side of the house which joins on to a public footpath then a very busy road. We contacted our local councillor about the land and he did and search and said the land was not registered and told us to fence the land off 1 meter away from the public footpath. Before we decided to do this we decided to take a trip to the land registry to double check, they also told us the exact same as the local councillor and we need to sit on it for 12 years, I asked the land registry what would happen if the local authority tell us to take the fence down and they told us if it is not there land they can't, to cut a long story short, in June 2015 we had a vehicle leave the road and crashed into our house, I have since been fighting the highways department, to have a safe rail guard put down the public footpath for our safety and public safety who use the public footpath, as over the years we have had many cars come in to the garden, because of this vehicle coming into my house and myself fighting for safety, the council from highway has told me that our fence are in contravention of the highways act 1980 and we must take the fence down and put the land back to the way it was, which was full of house hold rubbish, tyres and building rubble, another words it was a free tipping site for the public which we where over run with rats, I am not prepared to have the land go back to this state. Can anyone give any advice.

    Reply
    • Replies to Tracy Searle Niles>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Tracy - it's legal advice you need as the issues around the claiming ownership of the land and the highway issue are seemingly quite separate.
      If you are looking for wider public advice then you might like to try online forums such as Money Saving Expert or Garden Law to see if such matters have been raised before. You can also start your own conversations as well of course

      Reply
  44. Comment by Alan posted on

    If an unregistered property is inherited via intestacy by two persons , is it the assumption of L.R. that as beneficial owners they hold a joint tenancy?

    Reply
    • Replies to Alan>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Alan - there is no assumption made by us re such matters as such details may form part of the registered details or may simply be something quite separate and unregistered e.g. a deed or declaration of trust

      The issue may also not arise until such time as the executor transfers ownership of the property. At that point it should be registered and if in the joint names of the beneficiaries then how you wish to hold it should be agreed

      Reply
  45. Comment by Ben posted on

    I have a shared driveway but theres is a path and some unrigistered land (like a little driveway leading up to mine) between the road and my driveway. people are parking on the unregistered land blocking access and are saying its unregistered they can legally park there??
    What do i do?

    Reply
    • Replies to Ben>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Ben - you will need legal advice to understand the law around such matters. We can only provide the registered details and cannot explain what legal rights you or others may have.

      If you are unable to identify the legal owner and garner their support in the matter then it is really a question of what options are available to you.

      The fact that the land is unregistered simply means that we hold no record of who owns it. It does not in my experience equate to to meaning that someone can just park on it as the legal owner, albeit unknown, could prevent them.

      If you are looking for wider advice re the law around such matters then you could also try online forums such as Garden Law and Money Saving Expert where people facing similar issues will have posted before and their experiences and the advice given may help you as well

      Reply
  46. Comment by Matthew Sheppard posted on

    Can anyone who lives on free land (Unregistered) pass it on to someone else legally?

    Reply
  47. Comment by Adam Dunne posted on

    Can anyone answer this for me. Can you claim a right of way over land prior to the land been registered? There are 4 terrace houses, 3 are registered and 1 is not. The unregistered house is one of the middle ones and the other middle 1 was only registered in 2001 with no rights of way over the property shown. All houses were build about 1900. The end house is claiming a right of way going back to before the houses were registered.

    Reply
  48. Comment by Rachael Haynes posted on

    I would like to know how or if I can be the legal owner of a garage that due to being derelict and in disrepair, (adjacent to my property), I have been using and maintaining for many years. I have recently found that the registered owner died some years ago, aged 91. I cannot locate any other family members. What steps should I take next? Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to Rachael Haynes>

      Comment by SteveLR123 posted on

      Hello Rachael

      You may be able to claim the property via so-called 'adverse possession'. You have to show uninterrupted use of the land and what steps you have taken to claim it over a numbers of year - at least 12 years for unregistered land, at least 10 for registered land.

      Application is centred on a Statement of Truth ie statement made under oath. It is not often a straightforward type of application and we do advise you see a solicitor to help you prepare your case in the right way. Please note that we are obliged to ask neighbouring owners for comment prior to agreeing to register.
      The fact that the property is registered to someone is no bar in itself to applying.

      Please see our Practice Guides 4 and 5 for details - https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Also generally How to obtain Land Registry information - https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land

      Reply
  49. Comment by Caroline Meszaros-Suard posted on

    I am looking to tarmac a road that leads to private garages. I have called the council and they said it is a private road but cannot tell me who the owner is. I have then checked the land registy and the middlesex records and the road does not seem to be registered anywehere. I have also checked with the neighbours who lived in the road over 30 years and nobody seems to know who the road belongs to.
    How could I legally 'adopt' this road? If I tarmac the road and maintain it and that nobody objects during 12 years, could I legally claim this road as long as I can prove the investment made and give right of way to people owing a garage at the back or need to access their property through this road?
    Or alternatively is can I look anywhere else to see if someone do own this land?
    Thank you. Caroline

    Reply
    • Replies to Caroline Meszaros-Suard>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Caroline - only a council can 'adopt a road'
      Claiming ownership is likely to fail as others will have access to and use it. Our Practice Guide 5 explains the registration requirements for claiming ownership of unregistered land
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

      It reads as if you have fully investigated who might own it so there may not be any other avenues to check.
      However have you checked any adjoining registered titles to see what rights they already have over the road and perhaps how they were granted? - these may offer clues as to who owned the land in the past perhaps?

      Either way I would strongly recommend seeking legal advice before looking to claim ownership or indeed doing any work on the road.

      Reply
  50. Comment by Suee posted on

    Hi, apologies if this topic has already been discussed. We have recently moved in to a property which has a piece of land adjacent to it. It is a small piece of land, with low maintenance shrubs/tree growing on it. We assumed it was owned by the council, but after initial inquiries find it is it not. We now believe that it is owned by the original developers (although it does not appear to be registered), who have now gone bust. Is there any way we would be able to find out who does actually own it, with a view to purchasing the land in the future, not to build on, but to simply extend our garden? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Replies to Suee>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Suee- the topic is considered by the blog article so it comes down to your own detective work if the land is unregistered
      If the land is owned by the developer and they have gone bust then ownership may have passed to the crown and it would be the Treasury Solicitor you would approach to see if you can purchase it - research the term bona vacantia and then get legal advice as appropriate.

      Reply
  51. Comment by Annette smith posted on

    I live at the end of a cul de sac and there is a patch of grassed land next to the border of my garden fence. This land is believed to be owned by the local council but in 6 years it has never been tended to in any way. I have maintained it and I understand the previous owners of my house did the same due to it being neglected. I would like to change the use of this land to a parking bay and was wondering if this was possible if so what would I have to do as I am clueless
    Thanks Annette

    Reply
    • Replies to Annette smith>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Annette - we don't register the 'use' of land I'm afraid and suspect if you wanted to create a parking bay you may need to confirm with the local authority/highways agency that you can do so.

      If you want to claim ownership of the land then I would recommend seeking legal advice. Our Practice Guides 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements but the law around such matters is very complex.
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
  52. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Cheryl - can you email us at customer.service@landregistry.gov.uk with your property details so that we can check and respond to you accordingly.

    Reply
  53. Comment by Harry posted on

    We have a small piece of land which is shown in the plan when we purchased the property in 1999. While doing a check with land registry it appears this land is not included in the title deed. How can I register this land under a new title

    Reply
    • Replies to Harry>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Harry - you would apply for first registration either based on deeds to show ownership or as a claim through adverse possession.
      If the parcel of land was shown in the purchase documents do you know why it was 'excluded' for example? Normally if you applied to include it and we chose to exclude it then your solicitor would have been informed.
      May be worth checking whether we have a record first and asking which option then applies
      http://landregistry.custhelp.com/app/contactus_general/

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Harry posted on

        Thanks Adam. Who would I check with. Is there a telephone help line

        Reply
        • Replies to Harry>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Harry - use the link I provided to submit the details by email
          We would need to check our records and respond by email
          There is no instant response other than the one I provided so a phone call would not be worthwhile

          Reply
  54. Comment by mary mcgeown posted on

    I own & live above a shop - one of a short parade. There is a strip of land adjacent to my neighbours shop which used to be the beginning of a lane that ran up to a local park - along the back of local houses. The lane fell into disuse a long time ago and a wall has been built which now blocks the path - leaving the strip of land. This is now being used by my neighbour as a 'builders yard' and although I have rights of access ( a side gate leading to an alley behind the row of shops) the area is progressivly being taken over by this neighbour. The land does not feature on the land registry documents although certain access caveats are mentioned on the title deed. Whats my best next step? I think it may have been church land historically - the local council sya its not theirs and although TFL are now responsible for the pavement area they don't seem to know about this land.

    Reply
    • Replies to mary mcgeown>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Mary - legal advice is needed to both consider whether your own rights of access are being denied/hindered and to understand what rights the neighbour has re occupying the land
      I would suggest that it is the access issue that is the one to pursue initially as it would be for the legal owner to deal with his occupation of this land for example

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by mary mcgeown posted on

        thanks for this helpful response- makes sense

        Reply
  55. Comment by Mrs Brown posted on

    Good day Adam,
    There is a piece of property we have sought out that has been vacant forever. We had paid surveyors to do some research and survey the property. The property is not crown land nor generational. We were advised we could have the survey recorded and proceed to advertise the legal information in the local newspaper for three consecutive weeks and make claim if no one comes forward. I have scoured many archives in lieu of a sample of a Public Notice and can not locate any online. Do you have any recommendation on where I might find a sample or do I need to hire an attorney? Regards.....Mrs. Brown

    Reply
    • Replies to Mrs Brown>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Mrs Brown - I am not aware of the 'advertisement' option although this reads as if it is quite separate from the process we deal with for properties in England or Wales.
      Our Practice Guides 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements re claiming land/property under adverse possession. The law is though very complex on such matters so I would also encourage you to seek legal advice
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
  56. Comment by harry posted on

    Hi sir i am asking to let me know about the land which a person is owning papers are on his name but it is not in map sheet then what to do sir how to get back land
    Its in india gujarat state

    Reply
    • Replies to harry>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Harry - we deal with land and property in England and Wales. I would suggest researching land ownership in India to see what official channels are available to you

      Reply
  57. Comment by rajesh posted on

    i find a property to buy later found that the land has no title /not registered so can i buy that property?what is legal support i can have to buy a property without title.pls help

    Reply
    • Replies to rajesh>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Rajesh - you will need to try and trace the legal owner in order to buy it if it is unregistered. It will still be owned but we have no record of who that owner is.

      Reply
  58. Comment by Richard Gordon posted on

    Much a long the same questions as most people. I have just moved into a house 2 months ago. There is a small piece of land that runs by the side of my garden fence. Next to it is a footpath which links the two could de sacs. Ive asked my local council who says its not theirs. The building company that built the houses 40 years ago have been took over and the new company has no record of my estate!! I have the SIM document that states "No other registered estate, caution against first registration, application for first registration or application for a caution against first registration is shown on the index map in relation to the property"
    If Ive read this correct I assume the land is unregistered? So how do I register it but more importantly how long roughly would it take. The problem I have is that Im looking to build a new garage this year as the one Ive got is to small and I'm looking to use that land as it would create more space and a bigger garage.

    Reply
  59. Comment by Bridie Blunden posted on

    I own a ex council house have done for over 40 years, it has a tiny front garden and used to have a small hedge to divide the next door boundries (Ie local authority) over 30 years ago the local authority removed the hedges to build a cement ramp for the old couple who lived there they did nothing about the 2ft bare land that was left at the side ajoining my garden, I have cared for and looked after that piece of land for over 30 years, local authority have now moved in new tennents who I have just found measuring the length of my garden to errect a fence, I told them under the laws of caring for that tidy peice all these years that is now mine. and in order for them to errect a pence they would have to trample all ove my garden to do so as the ramp is still there how do I stand.

    Reply
    • Replies to Bridie Blunden>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Bridie - it's legal advice you need to understand what rights you may have here
      Our online guidance in Practice Guides 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements re registering any claim as to it's ownership and this would be something to discuss with your solicitor
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Bridie Blunden posted on

        thank you but do not have money for that am 72 year old might not live long enought to see it to the end

        Reply
        • Replies to Bridie Blunden>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Bridie - I understand the diffficulties seeking legal advice can pose but if your neighbour ignore or challenge your claim then it is the law that you would need to turn to protect any interest you have in the land.
          I am afraid we cannot give legal advice or enforce any rights you may have or be claiming. That is what the legal system is there for I'm afraid

          Reply
          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Bridie Blunden posted on

            thanks again I remember years ago reading about someone who had looked after a piece of local authority for 15 years before they tried to reclaim it but the judge said it was hers through right of care just can't remember the name so I can quote it, ah well the search goes on

          • Replies to Bridie Blunden>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Bridie - claiming land is possible and there will be many examples where it has happened. The key though is that you have to register that claim to really protect it

          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Bridie Blunden posted on

            thank, nothing further has developed from my neighbour so while peace reins will not push my luck but will quitely look into the registeration to be on the safe side

  60. Comment by Shahd Sadedin posted on

    If I transfer part of my land to someone, and he registered it under his name, is that an event that triggers me registering my land as well? so in other words, if I transfer part of my land to someone do I have to register my land as well?

    Reply
    • Replies to Shahd Sadedin>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Shahd - no, it triggers the need for the buyer to register their purchased parcel of land

      Reply
  61. Comment by Shahd Sadedin posted on

    If I transfer part of my land to someone, do I have to register my land as well, or is it just the transferred part that must be registered according to Section 27 of the Land Registration Act 2002?

    Reply
  62. Comment by Helen Fletcher posted on

    Hi we have maintained land adjacent to us for over 30 years. As far as we know it's council owned. Do we have rights to gaining possession?

    Reply
  63. Comment by martin posted on

    hi i own a house in bath and have no one living near us,apart from fields both sides with the farmer keeps sheep.at the back of the house our garden backs onto a small triangler copse which has a few old trees and young ones,i have asked the farmer if he owns the copes .He thought i was the owner as it did not belong to him.looking at my boundary deeds
    it does not belong to me,but for the last 5 years i have been looking after it cutting dead branches down and cutting ivy that has been growing round the trees.in high winds there has been a tree that has fallen coming into our garden.
    what can i do to claim land

    martin

    Reply
  64. Comment by Kevin posted on

    Hi Adam,
    Who,if anybody, is liable to be claimed against in the event of an accident on unregistered land? Our local history society noticed that the site of an ancient well was turning into a fly-tipping eyesore,so we cleaned it up,and looked for the owner. After querying the usual channels (local people,local council,landowners,farmers etc.to no avail,it turned out to be unregistered. We are currently applying for funding to help maintain it and prevent it turning back into a fly-tipping site,but the funding body have raised the question of liability in case of a claim after an accident. We do not wish to become owners of the site (which is tiny,and unsuitable for farming or building),but simply look after it.

    Reply
    • Replies to Kevin>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Kevin - not something we would register or be involved in I'm afraid so I suspect it is legal/insurance advice you will need
      If you are looking for wider online help you could try forums such as Garden law and Money Saving expert where such matters can sometimes be discussed

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Kevin posted on

        Ok,thanks Adam. It's an interesting question that hadn't occurred to me up to now - in this day and age of 'no win,no fee' lawyers,I would have thought by now somebody would have "fallen down a hole" on unregistered land and subsequently got a no win no fee lawyer on the job! I'll let you know if I find out (unless someone else on this thread beats me to it).

        Reply
  65. Comment by Michael BW posted on

    Hello,
    We would like to extend our house out from the gable end. The land we want to build on is ours apart from a narrow path running up the gable end side of the house 3 feet wide. This path/land is not registered to anyone. We would move the right of way around the proposed new build and the neighbour who has the right of way is happy with this proposal. Legally how do we go about building on the non-registered land ie. the path.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Replies to Michael BW>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Michael - you would need legal advice to understand the law around what you can or cannot do. The main concern would be how to deal with any action from the legal owner. Although the land is unregistered there will still be a legal owner .

      If you intend to try and claim the land as your own then I would also recommend you discuss this with a solicitor.

      If the right of way is registered and you intend to alter it then you and your neighbour would have to enter into a legal deed to make the change and then register it against the affected titles. Again something your solicitor can assist with

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Michael BW posted on

        Adamh
        Thank you very much for your help. Much appreciated.

        Reply
  66. Comment by Kelly posted on

    We have a small strip of waste land running behind our home that is council owned! There is a fence so it would make it difficult for the council to maintain and has become a dumping ground and now we have rats in the garden! Can we adopt the land, or how who do we get in contact with the buy the land?

    Reply
  67. Comment by adamh posted on

    mm - you would need to identify the legal owner and look to buy it from them. If you manage to identify the legal owner but say they are deceased and no evidence of next of kin/probate then you could approach the Treasury solicitor in an effort to buy - if you research the term bona vacantia this will explain how land/property can pass to the crown in certain circumstances

    Reply
  68. Comment by mm posted on

    Many thanks for prompt reply and info.

    Reply
  69. Comment by Thomas Adams posted on

    Hey. My neighbours and I would like to take ownership of a small patch of land located in front our house and the neighbouring houses so we could use this for off road parking. The land which the estate is built on was bought by the builders back in the 1960s and the company has now Dissolved. The land registry document doesn't show the land as the map is slightly crude in detail. Do you have any advice as to how we go about taking ownership of the land? Can I speak to someone for advise?

    Reply
    • Replies to Thomas Adams>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Thomas - claiming ownership of someone else's land is a complex area of the law so it is legal advice/help you will need here.
      Our Practice Guides 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements only so will give you an idea of what is required to make such an application. But we cannot advice you on how you actually go anout taking ownership
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
  70. Comment by plasticm posted on

    Hello Adam. Thanks for the informative article, not to mention continuing to helpful answer comments for so long!

    My house backs onto a railway embankment which creates a diagonal at the back of two rows of houses at right angles to each other. I've drawn a rough plan here:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3mopm0ladygqlvs/plan.jpg?dl=0

    Originally all the gardens were standard size and the remaining triangle of land was apparently allotments (according to a 1950 OS map - the houses were built in the 30s). At some point people obviously took over the allotments and incorporated the land into gardens. But the deeds still show the original short gardens. So who actually owns the old allotment area? How can I formally look into making our extended garden (which has been used by previous owners of our house for decades) official?

    The property search map enquiry tool shows no registrations other than the original houses and gardens - even the railway and embankment doesn't seem to be registered? So how can I find out who owns (what I think of as) my garden?

    This vague suggestion of "detective work" doesn't seem very helpful. Most of the neighbours are relatively new to the area, and I can just imagine the kind of looks I'll get if I go door-to-door, or in local post offices, asking who owns my garden! The land is hidden away, so even local people probably aren't aware of it other than immediate residents, and it's been years since it was allotments.

    If land isn't registered, how can someone prove they own it? Who's to say the land fenced off as my garden isn't mine?

    This has all come up recently after some petty quibbles over the exact borders. Another reason that asking the neighbours isn't a helpful line of enquiry!

    Reply
    • Replies to plasticm>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Plasticm - every scenario will be different so what detective work is deemed appropriate will be equally different and very much dependent on the circumstances as you have described.

      Proof of ownership historically has been through possession of deeds to prove it. Once registered those deeds are replaced as the proof by the registered title.

      So if you don't have deeds, it is unregistered and you want to claim/prove that it is your garden then our Practice Guide 5 explains the registration requirements.
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

      If it is your garden then the onus is on you to prove it and without deeds that would be through making a claim as explained in the guide

      Reply
  71. Comment by Gary & Fleur Parker posted on

    Hi I am selling my property that is on one title and I bought land previously from both neighbours on separate titles, so 3 titles in total. There is a slight piece of land in the middle of them which is unregistered and not covered by any of the titles - the solicitor believes this will be a result of sloppy conveyancing when the original title was registered, will this affect me selling the property ? will the buyers mortgage company cares?

    Reply
    • Replies to Gary & Fleur Parker>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Gary & Fleur - one for the buyer and lender to advise on as the circumstances will be unique to them.
      The buyer should spot that part of the land is unregistered and query that with you - if they do then you will probably have to provide a stat dec to clarify how you have occupied, treated the land as you own etc etc over however many years
      You may have to also offer some form of indemnity insurance to cover the risk of someone coming forward and reclaiming the land, however unlikely that may seem. And if that satisfies the buyer then it may also satisfy the lender. It is though their choice.

      What one or both may ask is that you make an application now to register the land and then sell a 'complete' set of titles.

      Your solicitor should be able to advise on each scenario

      Reply
  72. Comment by adamh posted on

    Roxy - you will need to check whether the land is registered or not and then refer to the appropriate Practice Guide, either 4 or 5
    https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

    I would also recommend seeking legal advice to understand what would be legally required in order to take possession

    Reply
  73. Comment by Kate osborne posted on

    Hi, any assistance would be appreciated. We purchased our house 7 years ago. At the bottom of the garden is a horse paddock, before this is a small stream and a small strip of area between our garden boundary and the stream. We had a gate onto this area (looks very old and was erected by previous owners) and have maintained the strip, weeding, removing silt from the stream etc.... The horse paddock was normally rented out and at times a fence was erected on the opposite side of the stream to prevent the horses accessing it. A fence has been there now for the last 2 years. The owner of the horse field is selling the paddock and documents illustrate that the small area including the stream and the area of land adjourning our garden is unregistered. However they are making a claim that they should be the legal owners as they have held title to the paddock since 1982 and they believe it should have been included in this ownership, they have made a statutory declaration saying that they have enjoyed and maintained the area since 1982 til now. Whereas we have enjoyed and maintained the area since 2009 and have never seen the owners, horses or field renters on the land on our side. Can we stop the paddock owner selling the strip (we are happy for the paddock to be sold) and continue to maintain the land for 5 years for us to claim adverse possession. Any help grateful. Thanks Kate osborne

    Reply
  74. Comment by Kathy posted on

    The fence at the end of our garden was erected prior to 1999 by the previous owner of the neighbouring property as it was his boundary according to the title deeds. He erected the fence inside his boundary and effectively transferred the land by consent to the previous owners of our property and our neighbours, although there was no legal transfer of the land. It is a narrow strip of approximately 18 inches along the width of our garden. The fence stood for 17 years but has now been removed by our current neighbour who has now put up a temporary marker which is 18 inches inside what we believed to be our property, based on the position of the removed fence. There is a visible fence post hole his side of the marker showing where the fence stood. The current neighbour has based his measurements on the 1919 title deeds for his property rather than replacing the fence like for like. As the previous owner erected the fence and informally moved the boundary, under the presumption that the boundary was correct, and we bought our property can the current neighbour move the fence without our agreement?
    Do we have any rights through adverse possession even though the previous neighbour erected the fence so the strip of land was not gained without consent?

    Reply
    • Replies to Kathy>

      Comment by Ian posted on

      Kathy - Our role is essentially administrative in registering the titles with general boundaries, which means that the exact position of a property's legal boundaries are left undefined. We there is a dispute as a result of boundaries being moved on the ground this is something that needs to be resolved between neighbours. If this is not possible, you would need to consider seeking independent legal advice as the options open to you, but ultimately if there is no resolution these matters may have to be resolved in other jurisdictions, for example, the courts.

      Claims through adverse possession as based on continued uninterrupted use of the land which may not be the case here if the fence has now been moved. It is a very complex area of the law, so we would suggest again that you seek legal advice, e.g. from citizen's advice or from a conveyancer, such as a solicitor.

      Reply
  75. Comment by Ian posted on

    Francis - A person buying a property should do so with full knowledge the current boundaries and as a solicitor will usually be involved, it is their job to advise any prospective purchaser.

    The strip of land may not be owned by either A or B, but that does not mean that it does not belong to someone. However, if as is usually the case in these circumstances the land is not registered with us. In that case, we would not hold any information on the legal ownership.

    In very general terms, ownership of land is either obtained through title/house deeds or by adverse possession (commonly referred to as squatter's rights). Adverse possession is based on uninterrupted possession of land over time. It is a very complex area of the law, and so if you want to explore this further, we would suggest getting independent legal advice.

    Reply
  76. Comment by Ian posted on

    Francis - A person buying a property should do so with full knowledge the current boundaries and as a solicitor will usually be involved, it is their job to advise any prospective purchaser.

    The strip of land may not be owned by either A or B, but that does not mean that it does not belong to someone. However, if as is usually the case in these circumstances the land is not registered with us. In that case, we would not hold any information on the legal ownership.

    In very general terms, ownership of land is either obtained through title/house deeds or by adverse possession (commonly referred to as squatter's rights). Adverse possession is based on uninterrupted possession of land over time. It is a very complex area of the law, and so if you want to explore this further, we would suggest getting independent legal advice.

    Reply
  77. Comment by ruth posted on

    I've checked the register for a peice of land. The land was originally one single peice with a property on it. The property and the section of land were sold off and the land to the rear of the property was retained, however, the is still registered as living at the original house, which I know he doesn't as the house has just been sold. How do I trace the owner when the address is not correct?

    Reply
    • Replies to ruth>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Ruth - the address they provide us with is a contact address for us to use. It is for them to keep it up to date and sometimes they fail to do so.

      As such it will largely come down to your own detective work, namely contact through neighbours or local authority or checking the register for any interests such as a mortgage and contacting the lender to see if they can assist or pass on any communication

      Reply
  78. Comment by Ian posted on

    It would be important for any prospective buyer to find out how they have claimed the land - e.g. just through claiming possession on the ground, for example, buy fencing it off or whether they have gone further down the legal route in which case they should have some sort of title documentation. For example to show that they have claimed the land by adverse possession (commonly referred to as squatter's rights) and legal title has been granted on that basis.

    From what you say, it appears that the land is not registered with us in which case we would not hold any information as to ownership, unless something has happened since you last contacted us to enquire about this. You may be interested in the following guidance in this respect - https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land .

    I am sorry we cannot be of more assistance by I hope this information is of some help.

    Reply
    • Replies to Ian>

      Comment by CC posted on

      Thanks for your reply Ian.

      We did ask some neighbours questions and the person who 'owns' the land in not in this country. The land goes across the back of a row of houses like a very very wide back alley way. Both ends a gate has been put up which I believe they did a long time ago. I dont have a problem with him owning it or not, but if it was to be purchased he would have to be able give us some deeds wouldn't he? Otherwise its not really a proper sale and anyone could just jump in and use it couldn't they?

      Reply
      • Replies to CC>

        Comment by adamh posted on

        CC - if selling then you need some sort of proof of ownership. Normally a registered title or the original deeds if unregistered.
        If the seller has neither then as Ian states some proof to support any claim to ownership is needed but you would need legal advice to confirm the details.
        I can't see what else we can usefully add other than with any sale of land/property it is a case of buyer beware and all down to the seller proving to the buyer's satisfaction that they are the legal owner

        Reply
  79. Comment by Jane Hill posted on

    Can I ask for advise? There is a very small patch of land in the corner of my garden behind a substation that is on the edge of our land. This small patch of land doesn't appear on any of the deeds surrounding it so I am unclear as to who owns it. My next door neighbour has put a shed and has plants vegetables on it. My question is how do I find out who owns this land?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Jane Hill>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Jane - you would firstly check with us as to whether the land is registered. You may be able to do this online although the land sounds quite small so a postal search of the index map would be the better option I suspect.

      If it is registered then you can check the title for the ownership details.
      If unregistered then follow the advice in the blog article bearing in mind it is then down to your own detective work to try and find the owner.

      Reply
  80. Comment by David C posted on

    HI there. On the side of my house there is a small alley that leads to my back garden and also two of my flanking neighbours and they have right of access. I originally thought that this was my land but upon further investigation it belongs to the builders that built the properties in the 1920's but the original owners paved over it and I have maintained it for the past 15 years.

    There is a manhole cover and sewer that runs directly under the access way which is apparently the responsibility of the landowner as opposed to Thames Water. As some work needs to be done on the manhole cover and sewer again if I can track down the original owner (or family of) would they be responsible for it or would we (the neighbours) be responsible? I checked the deeds and we are meant to maintain the area (fences, vegetation etc) which in turn gives us access.

    If, for example the original builders of the access way were long dead does that mean that I could make a claim for ownership of it? My neighbours would still enjoy access but at least it would be clear who owns it.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to David C>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      David C - who is or takes responsibility for the repairs is really a matter for the owner and those who use it.
      Claiming ownership of land is a complex legal matter and our Practice Guide 4 offers some guidance on the registration aspects involved
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-registered-land

      In the circumstances I would recommend perhaps seeking legal advice on both points

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by David C posted on

        Thanks. I had heard about adverse possession but it seems like a long drawn out process for something that is relatively simple. The right of access is used almost exclusively by me although one neighbour does use for his bike or putting out the bins. There is no way we can track the original owners for this land.

        Reply
        • Replies to David C>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          David - entirely up to you how you approach it. We register the end result re any claim so it is still legal advice you need

          Reply
  81. Comment by james posted on

    Hi, Ive just had some highway land around my property stopped up because previous owners had built their garden/Drive too large and went over their title boundary, highways were fine in handing it over and the DfT have made all the correct notices,.....because it was essentially grass verge of a road I cannot find an owner, neither the regional or local councils own the land, so I am lead to believe no one owns it (Except the crown) How on earth do I go about getting this added to my title deeds so it is my new boundary?

    Regards

    Reply
    • Replies to james>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      James - a stopping up order normally takes place when you own adjoining land on either side of the road. As such you would apply to register the land within your own title(s) using form AP1 and a certified copy of the order
      Land is always owned but is not always registered so there will be a legal owner. The key is how the stopping up order works in your favour so if you don't own land either side it might be worth getting some legal advice first

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by james posted on

        Hi Adamh thank you ever so much for the response, I Own the property next to this piece of land, the piece of land wraps around my property and was once grass verge until a previous owner built their drive over it and extended their garden over it leaving just the footpath wrapping around the property, this obviously caused issues when I purchased the property because at any moment the highways could of forced me to move fencing etc and return it to as was, hence why I applied to have it stopped up. I will go with the AP1 form and see where I get to, thanks again

        Reply
  82. Comment by adamh posted on

    John - is this for James or Land Registry?
    If for us then important to note that you cannot register cautions under current legislation against registered land
    See PG19 for how interests can be protected on the register https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notices-restrictions-and-the-protection-of-third-party-interests-in-the-register

    Reply
    • Replies to adamh>

      Comment by John O'Sullivan posted on

      Adam - the Land Registry. Many thanks - I thought this might be the case

      Reply
  83. Comment by Emma posted on

    HI i am wondering if we have swatters rights on a garden that is attached to my property. We have used and maintained this area for the last seven years, we have also paid money to the freeholder for the replacement of the fence. Under the lease it belongs to the shop who until now has never disputed us using it. Now we have people in the shop that have changed it to an office and want to rip up the garden and use it as a buliders yard. Do we have any rights here?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to Emma>

      Comment by Ian posted on

      Hi. Please see our published guidance on the adverse possession (commonly referred to as squatter's rights) affecting registered land- http://bit.ly/1Mey96B. This is written for legal professionals and may therefore contain some unfamiliar terms. As you will see this is a very complex area of the law and a number of factors can come into play. But the general principle is that possession of at least 10 years is required.

      If you are unsure how to proceed, you may want to consider getting some independent legal advice such as from Citizen's Advice or a conveyancer, such as as solicitor.

      Reply
      • Replies to Ian>

        Comment by Alex posted on

        Hello. This has been an interesting read. I currently have no job and therefore no prospect of buying any land or a house. However, I have found some land that I believe will not have been registered. It is at the bottom of a cliff on a remote beach, on the site of an old cliff fall. From what I understand of the conversation above, the default position for all such land is that the Queen owns it. I won't get started on how absurd this is - free country! ha ha - but what are the prospects for me if I build a very simple hut and go about my business? There is no chance that anyone else is interested in the land. The only problem would be the law and that awful attitude (most commonly of the Queen it seems) that say's "well, if you have found something good, I don't want you to have it".
        I know the writers of this blog mustn't recommend anything illicit but, given that I want to take possession of the land, how would I best proceed? Thanks in advance.

        Reply
  84. Comment by Steve posted on

    Hi, I purchased an end of Terrace property - An end terrace house (but it was not originally an end terrace) the land next to my property was 25 and 26 but not showing on any register as to who owns it (The two houses were destroyed by a bomb in the 2nd world war) However the council do maintain the patch , cut the grass and put a doggy doo bin there. I want to convert the house to two flats - the side entance to one would be accessed via land on the old property of 26...........can I claim it?

    Reply
  85. Comment by Emma posted on

    I have done everything but put a sign up on the land. Does the council sell unused land? The land hasn't been used in the last 5 years at least if not more.
    What else can I do?

    Reply
    • Replies to Emma>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Emma - not that I'm aware of. Whilst they can compulsory purchase land or property I don't think that's relate to its use. Something to check with them really.
      If you are trying to acquire it then putting a sign up is an option

      Reply
  86. Comment by Tuttts posted on

    Hi, can you shed any light on the matter of acquiring unregistered Common Land? We are aware of the process of deregistering Common Land but have hit a blank on making a claim.

    Reply
  87. Comment by Mark Coles posted on

    Running out of ideas. A commercial building used as a Social Club is unregistered with LR. Checked with local council and asked local people of ownership. Nobody knows and we have menacing structure damaging trees but don't know the boundaries. Any advise please?

    Reply
    • Replies to Mark Coles>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Mark - sadly not if you have exhausted all enquiries.
      So you then come at it from the other angle, namely can you do anything yourselves re the trees and your local authority may be able to help re that or a local solicitor

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Mark Coles posted on

        Many thanks for your prompt reply. I thought as much and will probably now look at a solicitor, thanks again, Mark

        Reply
  88. Comment by adamh posted on

    David - you should contact the Registers of Scotland for property details as we deal with England and Wales

    Reply
  89. Comment by Ian posted on

    As the equitable charge remains in the register then it will still affect unless you suspect there has been an error. It may be misleading to give general advice on this so if you could contact us - http://landregistry.custhelp.com/app/contactus_general/ with the property details and we'll look into it.

    Reply
  90. Comment by Air Cushion Boot Co. posted on

    My kitchen extension, small seating area and path do not exist on land registry maps, just a large white space. My solicitor did not notice when I bought the house but now I can't sell it. I have made several enquiries, there are 4 neighbours who have paid solicitors to find out who owns it over the last 50 years. The answer is "we can't find any evidence of ownership, it's probably Crown". My buyer's solicitor says that there is no sale until the back of the house is registered to me. How do I progress? 81, CV13 0QB

    Reply
    • Replies to Air Cushion Boot Co.>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Air Cushion - if the land is unregistered then you would need to apply to have it registered and if there are no deeds that would be through adverse possession. Our PG5 explains the registration requirements https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land
      In my experience the solicitor will normally ask the buyer to check and compare the extent as registered with the reality on the ground to identify any irregularities re the boundaries for example. They then raise the issue with the sellers to clarify/resolve as appropriate. They would not normally visit the property themselves so are often very reliant on the buyer in such circumstances.

      Reply
  91. Comment by adamh posted on

    Mark - all depends what you want to do. If it's to try and occupy and claim the property then it's legal advice you need. Our PGs 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements but it's wider advice you need first. If you are looking for that online then forums such as Garden Law can be useful resources
    https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

    Reply
  92. Comment by adamh posted on

    Mark - see the PGs 4 and 5 and seek legal advice on the law

    Reply
  93. Comment by Jayde Carroll posted on

    Hi, i was wondering whether the ability to claim land by adverse possession, would matter whether the land was claimed by an individual or a company.
    I am saying this as i have been in possession of a small building for 17 years as storage and gym use. I have finally found the land is registered after years of looking and it says it is registered by an electrical company "London Power Network". I believe it is registered as a leasehold and has nothing in it except a small electric cabinet (not in use). I am wondering if i would have the right to register for possession in this sort of situation due it being registered by a company and being a leasehold. Any information or help would be great. Thanks a lot.

    And if i could apply for possession what kind of proof, do you usually need to provide to prove you have been in possession.

    Reply
    • Replies to Jayde Carroll>

      Comment by NimishP posted on

      Jayde - There is no difference in whether the claim under 'Adverse Possession' is by an individual or a company.

      We cannot tell you whether you have the right or not because that is for you to prove to us if you are claiming ownership under Adverse Possession. Depending on the situation with the land concerned, please refer to our Practice Guide 4: Adverse Possession of Registered Land or Practice Guide 5: Adverse possession of (1) unregistered and (2) registered land where a right to be registered was acquired before 13 October 2003

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-registered-land
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

      While these guides are primarily written for legal professionals, they will help to explain our requirements and the procedures.

      I would suggest that you seek legal advice from a solicitor or Citizens Advice before considering any claim.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  94. Comment by Edmund Butler posted on

    I'm currently discussing ownership and my use of a rural, unregistered strip of land between my neighbours' land and my own. The strip is located on the other side of the highway to my property. It is in turn seperated from my neighbours' land by a fence. The strip measures approximately 5m by 100m. It contains a ditch which drains a spring rising in the strip into the river at the bottom of the valley. Clearly this benefits my neighbours' land (a field) by making it drier.

    My neighbour understands that I intend to apply for adverse possession of the strip in due course, following our many conversations on the matter. I have explained that the land is unregistered and that my due diligence has as yet revealed no legal owner of the strip. While the logical boundary of my neighbours' land would be at the highway, it is not. We cannot tell why the strip appears as a seperate piece of land to his own.

    His primary concern is that he has operated an access to his field across one end of this strip. A gate clearly defines this historical access. As he is not comfortable with making a claim for prescriptive access across the strip to the benefit of his land, he is asking that I write a letter of intent to (preferrably) 1. grant ownership of the 4m by 5m. area of the strip which has historically been used for the only vehicular access between his field and the highway; or 2. grant a Right of Way to the benefit of the owner of his land, in perpetuity. This would take effect in the event that my application for adverse possession of the strip is granted, some 10 years hence. After some discussion and a bottle of wine, he appeared comfortable with discussing "watertight" terms of a Right of Way in perpetuity.

    While this appears a most neighbourly arrangement, I am uncomfortable with one point he makes. He claims on very competent advice which I have seen, that, "...the land is owned by nobody". That advice opines that a Tribunal would award legal ownership of the strip to my neighbour, in the unfortunate event that the situation proceeded to that stage.

    My understanding is that all land is owned by somebody, whether as "Bona Vacantia" or as belonging to a person or group of persons. It appears that my neighbour feels that he has grounds to sue for legal ownership of the strip even though he has clearly never used it except to gain access to his land across one end of it, over an area measuring approximately 4m by 5m.

    The letter of preliminary advice my neighbour has given to me is penned by a deputy adjudicator of your Land Registry who is also clearly a senior, highly qualified property lawyer dealing specifically with adverse possession, rights of way and agricultural law. So while I respect his opinion, I am curious as to the claim that the strip belongs to nobody and that my neighbour therefore has a claim to it. It seems to me that it belongs to somebody as yet unknown and that I will at some point be in a position to claim adverse possession of the strip accordingly, assuming that the legal owner presents no objection.

    My question then is: if the land belongs to nobody, am I entitled to claim adverse possession? My neighbours' discussion of a Right of Way implies that he feels that I have a case, certain conditions as above having been met and further, that he would rather drink wine with me than go to a Tribunal to argue ownership of a patch of land with no value to him, and which has tremendous value to myself as it offers me a sweeping, pastoral view in front of my house.

    Reply
    • Replies to Edmund Butler>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Edmund - it's legal advice you need here to understand the strength of any claim you might seek to make in the future or more importantly what you need to be doing to ensure the claim is recognised.
      Practice Guide 5, which I am sure you have already read, offers guidance on the registration requirements but it is a wider understanding of the complex law that it appears you require.
      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land

      The only point I can perhaps make is that a claim relies ont he essentials included in the PG and these relate more to what you do rather than who the land belongs to. Similarly the impact of who the land belongs to can effect the limitation period, also explained in the PG, but that may not prevent you from making such a claim.

      If you are looking for wider online advice then online forums such as Garden Law can be useful resources as such matters are often aired and discussed

      Reply
  95. Comment by Yvon posted on

    I can I find out if a property I am thinking of buying privately has beed registered with the land registery?

    Reply
  96. Comment by adamh posted on

    Dean - I'm afraid we cannot advise you on whether you have a good case or not. We will only consider that question as and when an application is submitted.
    Our Practice Guides 4 and 5 set out the registration requirements/process for you and include guidance on the 'essentials' involved. I would recommend reading the appropriate guide and then seeking legal advise. https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

    If you are looking for wider online reassurance then forums such as Garden Law can be useful resources

    Reply
    • Replies to adamh>

      Comment by Dean Tomei posted on

      ok - so as we have owned the property and the land has been part of the garden for over 12 years you would not able to comment if its even worth us claiming ?

      Reply
      • Replies to Dean Tomei>

        Comment by adamh posted on

        Dean - if the period is over 12 years then you may have fulfilled one of the 'essentials' but that is not sole consideration here. Have a read of the 'essentials' as provided in the guides and if you 'tick all those boxes' then it reads as if you may have a good case to make such an application

        Reply
        • Replies to adamh>

          Comment by Dean Tomei posted on

          would the fact that the property has been rented out during our ownership effect a claim ?
          also what timescales for a decision are normal ?
          thank you

          Reply
          • Replies to Dean Tomei>

            Comment by adamh posted on

            Dean - it can but the law is extremely complex re such matters so it is legal advice you need. We cannot advise you on how the law views such matters. Timescales will vary but if you submitted it today then the average is currently around 70 working days before it is considered.

  97. Comment by adamh posted on

    Liz - not something we can generally advise on but in my experience it all depends on the conveyancing and checks made that decides whether something like this impacts or not. Every conveyancer/buyer is different and how they view the 'risks' involved with the purchase tends to be crucial. I would recommend seeking legal advice on the possible impact you refer to

    Reply
  98. Comment by Russell Adger posted on

    Hi. I have a really frustrating situation regarding land ownership. I own a small plot of and at the end of my road (which is registered and for which I have the tittle deed) which I have nurtured into an allotment. The boundaries of this land are clear and the property is fenced accordingly on 3 sides with the other side being open to a small brook. My issue is that on one side the land is adjacent to a pumping station owned by Thames Water and according to them (and I have seen a copy of their borders highlighted on a title deed) their border does not reach the adjacent pavement as mine does. Therefore there is a strip of land approximately 2 metres wide which "appears" to be unregistered and not owned by anybody but has upon it several extremely tall conifer/leylandii-type trees. I have contacted the local council and they have stated that this strip of land is not theirs. I consider these trees to be an extreme hazard to the extent that I recently found a large bough from a tree (approx 8 metres long) had snapped and fallen into my allotment causing damage to a greenhouse located on my land. If anybody had been in the vicinity at the time of the bough falling it would have undoubtedly killed or very seriously maimed them. I have approached both the council and Thames Water to ask them to resolve the dispute and remove the trees in question but neither seem willing to accept ownership or responsibility. I do not believe that me purchasing title deeds for the properties in question will aid me in any way and would just like to resolve this issue before any further incidents involving these trees causes any more damage. I would welcome any comments.

    Reply
    • Replies to Russell Adger>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Russell - all land is owned so if it is unregistered that ownership is unknown. If you cannot identify the owner then I suspect you may have to consider what action, if any and willing to, you can take yourself. For example if the boughs are a danger to your property you may be within your rights to lop them. As such I would recommend seeking legal advice or you could try online forums such as Garden law where such matters are often aired and commented on

      Reply
  99. Comment by petra posted on

    Hi we have a nightmare situation on our hands! We have planning permission to extend our property to the side by approximately 5 foot. However, on looking at our title deeds we are not sure if we own this area or not. On the title deeds it has been highlighted in yellow and our red line does not cover it, if that makes any sense! Are we able to do anything about it? Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to petra>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Petra - if the land is outside of your registered title then I would suggest checking if it is registered in its own right. The yellow tint may also be relevant but you would need to read the register to understand what it relates to.
      If the land is not yours then the landowner may have some issues with your building on it or if they don't you may have problems selling in the future.
      I would suggest checking what is registered and then getting legal advice

      Reply
  100. Comment by adamh posted on

    Petra - our online guidance explains how to search online and/or by post as appropriate.
    https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/overview

    Please do have a read of the full guidance and the online service before making an application or buying any details

    Reply
  101. Comment by Michael posted on

    I have a small square of land within the boundaries of my property. This land is unregistered. I am attempting to sell my house, however the buyers solicitors are querying ownership. How do I go about registering this land?

    Reply
  102. Comment by Christopher Whitmey posted on

    Concerning your bullet 5, or adding another bullet point, for rual land could it be worth referring to the registers held by the county Commons Registration Authority (usually county councils or unitary authority) under the Commons Registration Act?

    Reply
    • Replies to Christopher Whitmey>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Christopher - another piece of the detective's puzzle yes

      Reply
      • Replies to adamh>

        Comment by Christopher Whitmey posted on

        Thanks Adam. May I suggest you amend the original blog to save people scrolling down?

        Reply
        • Replies to Christopher Whitmey>

          Comment by adamh posted on

          Christopher - I'll pass the feedback on to those who manage our blogs for them to consider a change.

          Reply
          • Replies to adamh>

            Comment by Christopher Whitmey posted on

            Thanks & noted.

  103. Comment by Sally Noseda posted on

    When we sold a cottage in 1986, we retained a small separate piece of land but this was never registered at the time. The neighbour next to this piece of land later incorporated the land into their garden. We wrote to them several times (most recently in 2012) and provided their solicitor with evidence of our ownership when this was requested but they have carried on using the land in with their garden. We now want to move back into the area and use our land. We want to register the land but do we still need to do the Land Charges search as part of registering the land for the first time.

    Reply
  104. Comment by Graham Devaney posted on

    my wife went down a pot hole and severely hurt her back but the solicitor said the raod is unregistered so she has no one to claim agaist help please

    Reply
    • Replies to Graham Devaney>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Graham - I'm sorry to read that she's had an accident. Unfortunately if it's unregistered then there's no record of who the owner is so the advice in the article comes into play.

      Reply
  105. Comment by Ian posted on

    Chris - I'm replying as Adam is currently unavailable. Around 84 per cent of the land in England and Wales is registered. But as you may know, the remaining unregistered land is not 'ownerless' - it just means that there has not been a trigger such as a sale or mortgage which would require registration with us.

    I don't have the stats for possessory title claims but I should mention that not all applications will relate to adverse possession / squatter's rights. The background to such applications may be complex, for example, some may be due to the title deeds being lost or destroyed or that having assessed the deeds provided, we are not able to grant 'absolute title'.

    Reply
  106. Comment by NimishP posted on

    Chris,
    We cannot comment if Crown Estate would answer query from a member of public. You need to check with them.
    With regards to number of possessory titles registered by Land Registry, this is not one of the standard data we publish so we would not have it to hand. You can apply for this information under Freedom of Information Act. See the guidance at the bottom of our website on GOV.UK - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry
    Hope this helps.

    Reply
  107. Comment by paul morgan posted on

    Please can you tell me, once you have fenced a piece of unclaimed land off, do you need to inform anyone at the start of the 12yrs and is there any forms from the land registry that need applying for. also do you need to put a notification in the local news paper that you are claiming the land? please can you advise.

    Reply
    • Replies to paul morgan>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Paul - we can only advise on the registration requirements as per Practice Gudies 4 and 5. I would recommend seeking legal advice, which we cannot provide, if you propose to start the process of claiming land. https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      If you are looking for wider comment/advice then forums such as Garden Law or Money Saving Expert can be useful resources

      Reply
  108. Comment by StuH posted on

    I have just had a reply from the land registry cert ref 035/Q69EZLB and from the very non plain English I think it's says the Land Registry do not know who owns the land. How do I now claim a little portion that backs on to my property. About 1.5m to bring my property in line with the all the neighbouring properties ?

    Reply
  109. Comment by Mel posted on

    Hi there...

    We moved into a house with an dead end, no through way, private, unmade unadopted road, my solicitor could not find ownership on the road nor had the previous owners been able to find ownership, they gave us a written statement declaring they have had total free use and access to the road without question or trespass since they moved in in 1990 (27 years) also they with others in the road had maintained the road to a fashion, the owners prior them also had no problems to road use and access, the old owner paid for an easement policy(I think that's what it was called) just incase a problem may arise, now speaking to others in the road no one know who owns the road, a small estate of houses where built on land backing onto the dead end and when the builders applied for planning they tried to get the dead end opened up to use as another access to the estate, but council planning refused on on complaints from the residents in the road and the fact that no road ownership could not be found. I would like to ask could we form an association and claim the land and each house have owenership outside there property and maintains it as such with writtern full right of way and access to one another, to be legal and able to be attached to the house deeds going forward?

    Reply
    • Replies to Mel>

      Comment by adamh posted on

      Mel - its legal advice you really need here to ascertain what rights, if any, you may have re claiming ownership of the land or a right over it.
      Our Practice Gudies 5 and 52 will be of interest re both scenarios but it is the legal requirements you would need to consider and satisfy first before looking at what may or may not be registered.
      https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides
      Two things I would also add re what you have commented on
      1. Forming yourselves into an Association is not something I have come across before as claiming ownership and/or rights are not as a 'collective' but as individuals; and
      2. There are a number of legal presumptions which exist re land ownership/boundaries and PG 40 supplement 3 refers

      Reply
  110. Comment by Alan Hayward posted on

    Hi wonder if you can help with a query, we live in a small village, for the past 25 years we have been tending the grass verge that fronts our property, we have concerns that if a development goes ahead it could be dug up and made into a path. Do we have rights under adverse possession or squatters rights?

    Reply
  111. Comment by Vannessa Emery posted on

    I've been working on a man made lay-by with my burger wagon for 17 years,no-one cleans it,I've kept it clean 17 years.am I entitled to claim that land now

    Reply
  112. Comment by Duncan Senior posted on

    Dear AdamH,
    We are buying our landlord's house which he has owned for 23 years and where we have been renting for 8 years. We have found that a portion of the front of the property which is our driveway and gives access to the property is actually not part of the plot and is unregistered land, and there is no indication of who might own it. We have asked around, as it appears from drawings in the Land Registry that there are other cases on our road, but know one knows who owns it. Would we be able to add that land to our plot during the sale process or register access rights over that land?

    Reply
    • Replies to Duncan Senior>

      Comment by NimishP posted on

      Duncan - I have responded to your query in the absence of my colleague.

      You should speak to your solicitor, if you are using one for the purchase of the property. If you are claiming ownership of the piece of land, then it would be up to you to prove to Land Registry what is the basis of the claim.

      If you are thinking of claiming under principles of Adverse Possession, then I would suggest you refer to our Practice Guide 5 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land While the guide is primarily written for legal professionals, it will help to give you an understanding of the procedure and what our requirements would be.

      Hope this answers your question.

      Reply
  113. Comment by Geoff Mowatt posted on

    I am looking to buy a house that has a hedge boundary with an unadopted road. I'd like to put a gate in the hedge so that my wife who has a guide dog will be able to use the unadopted road to make her walk to the shops 400m shorter. Is there any legal grounds for me not to put the gate in or for my wife not to use the unadopted road for access? I can't see on the land registry search who owns the lane but it seems that it is unregistered and I know it is unadopted by the council. The lady further up the lane who also has her hedge as a boundary has a gate that she uses so there is a precedent existing if that makes a difference. Any help or advice gratefully received as this could be a deal breaker

    Reply
    • Replies to Geoff Mowatt>

      Comment by NimishP posted on

      Geoff - We cannot tell you whether you have any legal grounds to put the gate or not. You need to speak to a solicitor or Citizens Advice.

      Reply
  114. Comment by adamh posted on

    Shirley - I'm sorry the site has proven to be difficult. You have ended up in our blog area but assume you have an Enquiry to make? If so then I'd suggest using our online form to submit it https://landregistry.custhelp.com/app/contactus_general/

    Reply
  115. Comment by LINDA ROBERTS posted on

    Hi we are purchasing a property with some land, at the side is waste land.we have searched on the land registry, no owner. Discussing it with the local council they say, it had been a general store years ago. The couple who owned it died and no relatives found. Eventually the store was pulled down and it's just over grown now. Can we claim it and, could we build a cottage on it next to our shop and use the rest of the unclaimed land and land behind the shop converted into a working walled kitchen garden.
    Only just found out that it's empty.

    Reply

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person