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unregistered land, land registry mistake!

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  • unregistered land, land registry mistake!

    help! i am at my wits end with this one which has been dragging on for months now.

    please bare with me, its a bit of a long one

    we were in the process of selling our place when an issue with the plot of our garden came up. the people buying our place noticed that the plot from land registry which they were to sign to say it was correct was infact incorrect and only included half the garden. (approx 20' x 30')

    luckily we had copies of each conveyancing search done on the property since it was built and we could see that prior to 1920 the plot was correct then during a sale in 1920 the line was put in the wrong place. our solicitor discovered that this piece of land locked grass has never been registered as a separate piece of land and its very obvious from looking at it that it has always been part of our garden. the house was built in 1890 and still has the original walls all the way around with houses surrounding it and no access from anywhere but through our front door.

    our solicitor put forward a case to land registry that a mistake had been made in 1920 and asked for it to be rectified but they will not admit liability for it and say we must go for adverse possession.

    unfortunately we can only trace the previous owners of the property back 9 years so cannot go for adverse possession. however our neighbours next door and next door but one have lived there for over 25 years and are happy to give statements of declaration that the garden had been like it is now for the time that they have lived there. land registry have said that they will consider this evidence but that each cases is considered on its own merit and as this evidence would not carry as much weight as owners of the actual property giving evidence our chances of getting adverse possession would be slimmer using neighbours evidence.

    we are already 4 months down the line and it will take a minimum of 6 weeks to go for the above without any guarantees plus legal costs of around £500+

    indemity had been rejected by our buyers as they have been advised against it by their solicitor due to a clause which would make it void as soon as they contact land registry to apply for adverse possession in 3 years (which was what they intended to do). the chances of them not getting adverse possession under the circumstances are very slim, but they have been advised and are listening to their solicitor!

    so their lender (nationwide) now wants to revalue the property minus the value of the bit of garden and lower their mortgage offer accordingly which means the vendors will want us to drop the price.

    we are in a ludicrous situation because.....
    1. nobody is EVER going to claim the garden, they would have to be at least 111 years old if they did!
    2. nobody can claim adverse possession because we have hard evidence it has been like it for at 9 years.
    3. we couldnt and nobody else can buy it because it doesnt belong to anyone
    4. it is of no interest to any prospective parties as its not big enough to build anything substantial on and there would be no access except through our front door and it is land locked.
    5. in 3 years time the people who buy it (if they do!) will rightfully own it through adverse possession and will £xxxx better off!

    sooooo has anyone ever come across this before or can anyone offer any advice?!!!



  • #2
    Re: unregistered land, land registry mistake!

    When you bought did you not get copies of the plans form your solicitor to check? If so you should have spotted the discrepancy at that time.

    If your solicitor did not give you the plans to check when you bought then you might have a claim against him.

    I assume that the land has definitely been established not be registered at the Land Registry. Given what you have said, although neighbour's evidence isn't so good I think that you would have a fair chance of getting a possessory title if you applied. The LR send their surveyors round and they can usually tell if a fence line is modern or old.
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.