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Land Registration Act 2002

Right to make further application for registration

260.Paragraph 6 provides that if the applicant’s application for registration is refused but the applicant remains in adverse possession for a further two years, he or she is entitled (subject to the three exceptions in paragraph 6(2) and the two restrictions in paragraph 8) to apply once again to be registered. The two year period is to enable the registered proprietor or registered chargee to take reasonable steps either to evict the squatter (or at least to start proceedings to do so) or to regularise the squatter’s possession by negotiating a bilateral agreement under which he or she can stay as the proprietor’s tenant or licensee.

261.Transitional arrangements will be needed to cover the case of certain squatters who mistakenly believed themselves to be the owner of the land under paragraph 5(4). The provisions of the Act involve a move from a position where there is (generally) a 12 year limitation period to where there is no limitation period as such, but where it is possible for a squatter to be registered as proprietor after 10 years’ adverse possession. In most cases, the fact that the squatter might acquire title after only 10 years rather than 12 does not matter. The registered proprietor can stop the squatter from acquiring title by objecting to his or her application for registration.

262.Where a squatter is entitled to be registered because he or she reasonably but mistakenly believed themselves to be the owner of the land under paragraph 5(4), they might find that they were entitled to be registered as proprietor of the land on this basis on the day that the legislation is brought into force, even though they have only been in adverse possession for 10 years and, the day before, the registered proprietor could have successfully initiated possession proceedings against them.

263.This case will be dealt with by timed implementation. The provisions of the Act are to be brought into force by order. It is therefore proposed to bring paragraph 5(4) into force one year after the rest of Schedule 6. This means that registered proprietors will have one year from the coming into force of the rest of the Act to take proceedings against any squatter who might fall within paragraph 5(4) or otherwise regularise his or her position so that he or she is no longer in adverse possession.

264.Paragraph 7 provides that this time the applicant will be registered as proprietor whether or not the registered proprietor objects.

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