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


Ariel shot of model houses for blog post on Land Ownership


Claiming ownership of land…

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.

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.

You can find out whether the land in question is registered by contacting the Land Registry.

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 your application.

Every claim for Adverse Possession is different. If you need further information regarding this issue, or you would like to discuss your particular circumstances in detail, please do get in touch.

You can do so either via telephone on  01283 214231 or via email at

Post written by Katie Holmes
February 2019

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