Mr Beacon had his sights set on a strip of garden land between his property and that of his neighbour, Mr Hopkins, the registered owner. Beacon applied to the Land Registry to register the land in his name based on 10 years' adverse possession. Hopkins received notice on Form NAP (notice in respect of an adverse possession application) and objected within the 65 day time limit.
So what went wrong? Hopkins set out his objection but had not ticked the box on Form NAP asking for the application to be dealt with under Land Registration Act 2002, Schedule 6, paragraph 5.
Had he ticked this box, Beacon would have had to show that he reasonably believed that he owned the land for the past 10 years. Hopkins had evidence that Beacon could not have believed this, having made a planning application within this period that had excluded the land from within Beacon's boundaries.
So, Hopkins's failure to tick a box gave Beacon an easy victory. The advantage of the 2002 Act is that all registered owners will receive notice of an application for adverse possession and have an opportunity to stop it in its tracks. Schedule 6, paragraph 5 sets out three very limited circumstances when an application might succeed. But, if the registered owner doesn't respond then after 12 years the applicant will be registered as the true owner. The message to land owners is to fill out that form promptly and fill it out correctly.