Care must be taken when responding to Land Registry correspondence, particularly if it relates to an adverse possession claim.
Where an adverse possession claim involves registered land and the period of adverse possession began on or after 13 October 1991, the Land Registry will give notice of the application to the registered owner of the land. The owner then has the opportunity to serve a counter-notice within 65 business days. If he does so correctly the squatter's application will fail unless the applicant can satisfy one of three limited statutory grounds (except where the squatter is able to rely on possession prior to 13 October 1991). This affords registered land owners greater protection against adverse possession claims.
A recent decision highlights the need to take care when the registered landowner is preparing the counter-notice. Here, an adverse possession application was lodged in respect of a small strip of registered land. The application was made by the squatter and the registered owner returned the counter-notice stating that he objected to the application. However, crucially, the registered owner failed to require the applicant to satisfy one of the statutory grounds. The application succeeded and the strip of land was registered in the squatter's name.
Hopkins v Beacon (2011).