Is it too late to claim my land back from my neighbour?

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
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© Merrily Harpur
Question: Title deeds from the Land Registry clearly show that two metres of my garden have been included in my next-door neighbour's garden, apparently since they were landscaped from new. We both bought our houses when they were first built 20 years ago.

The upshot is that my drive is so narrow we sometimes accidentally run over what my neighbour perceives to be her garden when driving in and out — and she consequently berates us whenever this happens. Is it now too late to claim back the land?

Answer: Try to avoid a costly and unpleasant boundary dispute with your neighbour. You do not need to "claim back" the land — you own it.

The copy of the register of title and title plan show the boundaries according to the Land Registry and show you to be the owner. Obtain a copy of the register of title and title plan for your neighbour's land to ensure that there are no errors, which, frankly, is unlikely.

Try to find a copy of the original transfer document relating to when you first acquired the property, which should have a plan attached showing the boundaries. This plan would have been used when your property was first registered at the Land Registry after you completed the purchase, and will further confirm the boundaries.

Show all this to your neighbour so she can see that she has been mistakenly treating some of your garden as hers. If she won't accept the situation, instruct a good property lawyer to write to her.

She is unlikely to be able to claim "squatters rights" to part of your garden, as the whole point of land registration is to protect your ownership. If she did make an application to the Land Registry for "adverse possession" as it is called, you could certainly oppose it.

What's your problem?


If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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