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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Claiming Council Land

    Hi all!

    I am just in the process of purchasing an End Of Terrace with 3 bedrooms, its looking like I'm going to be able to jiggle the staircase into the old converted loft to make it a 4 bed, convert the cellar and renovate to put equity into the property.

    I would put a link to the property but it's disappeared and the sign has SOLD on it which seems premature as we still have't finished with solicitors etc...

    Anyways, the property has a very short road to the left which i am still unsure where the boundary is, i have a feeling the property will only own part of the road even tho it serves no purpose whatsoever other than the property using it as a drive and also access to a detached, old timber garage.

    Its been used by the owner as tho it was he's for decades, he's even re-tarmaced it so lets say the road isn't owned by the house or on the deeds, that is problem 1.

    Secondly, the back garden is huge and really well maintained but it is rented from the council for £5 a year and i'm told is on a very long leasehold, like wise, it serves no purpose other than being a back garden to the house.

    Iv'e paid a good price for the house as tho it has no garden, or drive so its not a loss if i can't claim the land.

    I don't think the sale will be complete for another 4 weeks or so but i wonder how to approach these in a way thats likely i can somehow claim the land and attach it into the deeds. I would like to put an orangery extension on the back but i doubt this is possible if the land is rented of the council or does anybody think otherwise?

    Should i even alert the council? Is there any Grandad Rights that i can use to claim the land?

    Can they be forced to sell me the land?

    If i can claim the land i can make a whole different property, maybe a 5 bed and a new, double garage.

    I'm hoping someone else has done similar, successfully..

    My local council is Rossendale and my County Council is Lancashire, if that helps.

    Thank you!!

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    Why not ask the council if they would sell it to you?

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    i haven't completed the purchase yet and i just wanted to know if there are other ways to obtain the land given that it has only been used and maintained by the owner for so long.


    I would buy the land given the chance, i wonder what are the chances of them saying yes right away or i should seek legal advice to see if there are any legalities that will help.

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    I would just ask, councils are short of money and may welcome the income.

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    If he's been paying rent on it there is no right to own it because he has maintained it.  Had there been no rent then after 12 years ( i think) he can claim it.

    Once sold to you the time starts from zero again i believe.

    Just ask council how much to buy.

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    If you have been openly "occupying" (using) land (normal test is fencing it off and maintaining it), you used to be able to claim ownership. After 6 years you got possessory title, and after 12 yrs title absolute, I did this in the 90s - but the law was changed in 2002 and although the requirements are the same for unregistered land, it's very difficult if the land is registered. In my case I became owner of the village pond and land around it - a substantial plot.

    Derek isn't right about selling resetting the clock - you just attach to the deeds a sworn affidavit from the previous owner that they fenced and maintained, and weren't challenged.

    If you are paying rent that acknowledges the Council's ownership - it is the origin of the expression "Peppercorn Rent" - in the old days the Freeholder retained their right of ownership by including in the Deeds a negligible rent -  normally 1 peppercorn per annum.

    ​The drive probably isn't worth the legal costs to acquite.

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