‘Squatters' rights’ is a term used for adverse possession where an individual occupies land belonging to someone else, continuously for a number of years without permission from the true owner.
Adverse possession can cause issues when selling or buying land. There may be discrepancies between the boundaries on the title plan and the physical occupation of land.
A long term squatter can become the registered owner of land they occupy. The individual claiming needs to demonstrate that they have:
The effect of establishing adverse possession is to defeat the true owner of the land and the individual claiming would become the legal owner.
The Land Registry’s approach on adverse possession is based on neutrality and fairness.
In the case of registered land on receipt of an application, the Land Registry will notify the paper owner, who is given the opportunity to object. If the application is not opposed, the applicant will be registered as proprietor in place of the paper owner after the expiry of 65 business days.
If the paper owner objects, the matter will be referred to the Land Registry’s dispute resolution regime.