Can I Claim Ownership of Land That’s Not Mine?


Ariel shot of model houses for blog post on Land Ownership

In her latest blog, Conveyancer Katie Holmes discusses ‘How do I claim ownership of land that is not mine?’ …

Most land in England and Wales is now registered at the Land Registry so more often than not it is easy to find out who owns what land. However, sometimes there are parcels of land owned by one person but used by another, otherwise known as ‘squatting’. When someone wants to claim ownership of land that’s not theirs, it is called Adverse Possession.

How Can I Claim Adverse Possession?

To claim Adverse Possession you would need to make an application to the Land Registry. The Land Registry have a strict set of criteria you must meet before you can claim land you do not own. The rules are the same for registered and unregistered land but the application procedure is different. The Land Registry practice guides provide detailed guidance for both procedures: unregistered and registered.

It is a lot harder to successfully claim Adverse Possession of registered land and there are usually other, more effective routes for acquiring registered land.

You can find out whether the land in question is registered by contacting the Land Registry, and this should be your first port of call.

In order to claim Adverse Possession you must show that:

  • You have actual physical possession of the land (Fencing off the land is strong evidence of physical possession)
  • You have the intention to possess the land (Using the land as if it is your own to the exclusion of others)
  • Your possession is without the true owner’s consent
  • All of the above have been true for at least 12 years if the land is unregistered or 10 years if the land is registered

It is possible for someone to object to the application but the Land Registry will assess each application on their own merit. Any evidence you can provide to show you have met the above criteria will help any application.

How Can We Help You?

Every claim for Adverse Possession is different. If you need further information regarding this issue, or you would like to discuss your particular circumstances, please do get in touch via telephone on 01283 214231 or via email at

Katie Holmes
April 2023

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