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Land Registration Act 2002

This page sets out the procedure for applying to the Land Registry under the Land Registration Act 2002 to be registered as owner of land that has been in adverse possession. It also deals with the leading cases that have been decided under the Act since it came into force.


Where land is registered a squatter may only acquire title to that land if he satisfies the provisions of Schedule to 6, the Land Registration Act 2002 (unless he was in adverse possession for 12 years prior to 13 October 2003 when that Act came into force, in which case the "old law" will apply).

The position is more complicated than this but put simply:
  • A person may apply under the 2002 Act to be registered as the proprietor of the land if he has been in "adverse possession" for a period of ten years ending on the date of the application (Schedule 6, para 1). If an application is made a notice is served on the registered proprietor and if no counter-notice is served within the limit given the applicant will be registered as the owner;
  • However, if the registered proprietor does serve a counter-notice the applicant must show that one of three "conditions" applies; estoppel, some other reason why the squatter should be registered, or the boundary condition.
  • The key element under the boundary condition is a requirement that the squatter has had a reasonable belief for at least 10 years of the adverse possession that the land belonged to him (Schedule 6, para 5).
The Land Registry provides a very good guide to its procedure for applying under these provisions: Practice Guide 4

There have not yet been many cases under the 2002 Act but two particular points have arisen:
  • Paper owner's mistaken failure to serve a counter-notice to trespasser's notice under the 2002 Act claiming title - can the paper owner get the property back?
  • Reasonable belief as to ownership for the purposes of the boundary condition.

Application by squatter to be registered

A person who has been in adverse possession of land for 10 years may apply to the Land Registry to be ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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