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What are ‘Squaters’

Since LASPO 2012 it has been a criminal offence to squat in a residential building. If a criminal offence has been committed does that mean that a residential squatter can never claim adverse possession.

 

Someone who has been in adverse possession of registered land for 10 years or more can apply to the land registry to be registered as the owner. However since the introduction of LASPO 2012 the land registry has rejected such applications on the basis of caselaw which indicates that criminal acts cannot be relied on in support of claims for adverse possession. In effect the land registry view is occupation of the residential property is an offence under LASPO 2012 and so adverse possession cannot apply. In a nutshell the end result has been applications for adverse possession in such circumstances have been rejected by the land registry.

 

Interestingly however the court of appeal has now intervened to make it clear that a squatter who remains in occupation of a residential building long enough to bring a claim of adverse possession can rely on that occupation even if it involves a criminal offence.therefore LASPO 2012 has not changed the law on adverse possession.

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