Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is the term for entering land as a trespasser and dispossessing the owner of the land. Most of us know it as squatter’s rights. Â

On the 1st September 2012 squatting in a residential property became a crime. However squatting in a non-residential property remains a civil matter.

This effectively means that it is not a criminal offence to squat in a pub, but if you decide to squat in the flat above you could face prison or a fine or both!

Follow these seven steps over ten or twelve years and you could have a new place to live.

Step one

Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 made squatting in a residential property became a crime. So to avoid a criminal record a non-residential property may be better. However if it is only possible to squat in a residential property following the case of Best v Chief Land Registrar [2014] EWCH 1370 the criminal conduct will not prevent the claim to the land.

Step two

Schedule 6 of the Land Registration Act 2002 provides that a person may apply to become the proprietor of real estate land if the land has been in adverse possession for ten years. So relax for ten years and keep your fingers crossed.

Step three

Section 6 Criminal Law Act 1977 makes it a criminal offence to use force violence to remove squatters. Therefore once locked inside the premises anyone who tries to forcibly remove the squatter without lawful reason would be committing a criminal offence. Â

Step four

Following Schedule 6 Paragraph 2 of the Land Registration Act 2002 it is necessary to give notice to the registered owner.

Step five

It is necessary to prove animus possidendi or in lay mans terms compelling evidence. Slade J stated in Powell v McFarlane (1979) 38 P & CR 452 that this is the factual possession and the requisite intention to posses.Â

Step six

Where the registered owner does not respond the squatter may be registered as the proprietor of the land. Schedule 6 Paragraph 4 of the Land Registration Act 2002.

Step seven


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