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How long do I have to have occupied land to claim adverse possession?

Before 2002, a squatter could apply to be registered as the owner of land if they had been in adverse possession of the land for a minimum of 12 years.

In 2002, the Land Registration Act was introduced. This Act only applies where the land is registered at the Land Registry (registered land) and the person in possession did not acquire 12 years possession of the land before 13 October 2003. Whilst the person in possession only needs to show 10 years adverse possession, on making an application to be registered as proprietor, the registered proprietor will be notified and given the opportunity to oppose the application. The process is therefore weighted in favour of the landowner.

Where the land in question is unregistered land, or registered land where the possession relied upon is for a period of at least 12 years ending before 13 October 2003, the previous regime still applies.

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