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At Coodes, we have a detailed knowledge of the law relating to adverse possession or squatters’ rights and can help guide you through the process with clear, common-sense advice. We have extensive experience of representing clients seeking to claim adverse possession, and of representing land or property owners seeking to defend against such claims.
Adverse possession, sometimes described as squatter’s rights, is the process by which a person or people take ownership of land or property that belongs to someone else. This is a complex, hotly contested and often misunderstood area of law. It is shaped by three different sets of rules, depending on whether the property or land in question is registered with the Land Registry or is unregistered, and how long it has been occupied.
In order to for someone acquire property or land by adverse possession, they need to be able to demonstrate exclusivity. If it is not physically enclosed and third parties can still gain access to it, then it is very difficult to make a successful claim. In addition, there are requirements beyond simply being in exclusive occupation including, in the absence of any good reason why the occupant should be registered as the owner, that they ‘reasonably believe’ that the land belongs to them. Demonstrating this is far from straightforward and can itself lead to a dispute even if the other requirements for adverse possession are present.
If you believe that you may be entitled to claim land by adverse possession, or if you own land that is occupied by someone without your permission, we strongly recommend that you contact us.