Land Cases Emphasise Need to Consider Facts
Two recent cases involving property matters illustrate the importance of considering the facts when making decisions.
In the first case, an adverse possessor (someone who obtains good title to property by virtue of having peaceably occupied it for a period of time) lost their claim to the land for the reason that they had not for the whole of the relevant period had the piece of land in their possession and dispossessed the owner of it. In this case the land was at the boundary between two units on a business park and the company claiming the land built a fence to enclose it. There was no doubt that the land had been used by the company claiming the title should be transferred to it before it built the fence, but it did not use the land exclusively and to the exclusion of the owner. Its claim to have its title confirmed failed.
Similarly, the owner of a barn conversion who attempted to have a certificate of lawful use issued in relation to it after he converted it into a residence failed to have the certificate granted because the barn had not, as a matter of fact, been used continuously as a residence for the required four years. Had it been used continuously for four years, the planning office would have been out of time to make an enforcement notice. The fact that its use as residential premises had begun more than four years ago and was not used for other purposes when not used as a residence but that was not relevant – it had not been used continuously as a residence.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.