How to prevent temporary occupiers claiming "squatter's rights"
Posted on 14th February 2020
Most commonly experienced between neighbours with one party gradually creeping over the other’s boundaries, squatters can acquire ownership of property or land simply by virtue of long, continual, uninterrupted use. If the legal owner does not evict a squatter from their land within a certain time period or does not disturb the squatter’s use of the land, then the legal ownership may well be lost to the squatter.
The Courts can help. You can apply for an Interim Possession Order if 28 days or fewer have elapsed since you have discovered the squatters and the Court will send confirmation of your Interim Possession Order along with any other documentation that you must serve to squatters within 48 hours.
If this deadline has passed, then squatters could become the legal owner of the property if they:
• Apply to the Land Registry to become the new legal owner
• Produce evidence that they have occupied the land for ten years or more on a continuous and uninterrupted basis
• Prove that they have spent money on maintaining the land
• Can show that they have acted as landowners and that they did not have permission from the owner to do so
• Can prove factual possession of the land for example by building a fence or farming the land
The safest way to prevent any potential claims is to ensure that the land is registered to you and your address and contact details are up to date with the Land Registry.
Other factors that can help when Squatters have taken up residence are:
• Start showing you interest in the land by inspecting it regularly
• Begin maintaining the land
• If it is safe to do so begin interfering with the squatters use of your land, for example, remove any fencing that they may have erected
• If the squatters apply to be legally registered as the owners, and the property is already registered in your name, then you will receive a notification. If you receive a notification, then you must act immediately. Rebutting an adverse possession can be expensive and costly so you must act quickly.
Contact our specialist property solicitors via email@example.com or call 01995 602 129.
MG Legal - Your Local Solicitors
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