Can I keep a bit of next door's garden?

For 10 years I have had the use of about a foot of my neighbour's garden, which they incorporated into my garden when they put up a fence. Am I entitled to claim this section of garden?
Question: For 10 years I have had the use of about a foot of my neighbour's garden, which they not only never used, but which they also incorporated into my garden when they put up a fence. Am I entitled under squatter's rights to claim this section of garden, and would I be able to sell the property with this additional bit of land? 

Answer: You are thinking of "adverse possession". Try to regularise the position before you market the property because you will be asked questions about the boundaries in the Property Information Form which you have to complete when selling a property.

To be able to claim the land by adverse possession, and apply to the Land Registry for the title to the land to be registered in your name with possessory title, you need to be able to satisfy certain conditions.

You must show factual possession and intent to possess the land. You can do so because the land is fenced.

You must also show that possession of the land has been without the owner's consent. A search of the index map should be carried out to establish if title is registered at the Land Registry.

If the land is unregistered you will need to prove these conditions have applied for the last 12 years. You are unable to do this because you have used the land and it has been fenced for only 10 years. If title is registered, the period is 10 years and so you could apply to the Land Registry for title to be registered in your name. However, the Land Registry will serve notice on the registered proprietor and if they object your application will fail. If there is no objection, you should succeed, provided the conditions are satisfied.

Because you are dealing with just a foot of land, it is possible the Land Registry may say it is too small to deal with or identify and that it is covered under the general boundaries rule.

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