Guidance

Adverse possession of (1) unregistered land and (2) registered land where a right to be registered was acquired before 13 October 2003 (PG5)

Guidance on adverse possession where a right to be registered was acquired before 13 October 2003 (practice guide 5).

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Aimed at conveyancers, this guide explains HM Land Registry’s approach to applications based on adverse possession for (1) first registration of unregistered land and (2) registration as proprietor of registered land where a squatter was in adverse possession for the requisite limitation period so as to have acquired a right to be registered as proprietor before 13 October 2003. It also explains the procedures for making such applications, and the options available to those served with notice of them.

Practice guide 4: adverse possession of registered land deals with adverse possession applications in respect of registered land under the new regime set out in Schedule 6 to the Land Registration Act 2002.

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Published 13 October 2003
Last updated 18 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Section 8 has been added to clarify our current practice regarding adverse possession of rentcharges in the light of changes made to section 38 of the Limitation Act 1980 by Schedule 14 to the Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

  2. Section 2.3 has been amended to take account of the Court of Appeal decision in Rashid v Nasrulla. Section 7.1 has been amended to clarify the position where rent is paid to someone other than the landlord.

  3. Section 7.1 has been amended for clarification and to agree with the law.

  4. Section 7.1 has been amended to make clear that for applications for first registration based on adverse possession of land subject to an unregistered lease, where a squatter is a tenant encroaching from leasehold land and the presumption in Smirk v Lyndale Developments Ltd is not rebutted, any resulting registration will be with a qualified leasehold title.

  5. Section 7.1 has been amended to reflect a change of practice in respect of applications for first registration based on adverse possession of land subject to an unregistered lease. Formerly, we refused to process such applications as a result of the decision in Fairweather v St Marylebone Property Co Ltd. We are now prepared to proceed with such applications but any registration will be with a qualified freehold title.

  6. Section 5.1 has been updated to clarify the status of the fee for inspection.

  7. Section 7.1 has been amended to clarify the position where rent is paid to someone other than the landlord.

  8. Section 4.1 has been amended to clarify that you should lodge only copy documents with your application as we will scan and destroy originals.

  9. Link to the advice we offer added.

  10. Section 4.3 has been amended to confirm that you need supply only certified copies of application forms and deeds.

  11. Added translation