Lawyers for Possessory Title Applications

There is a principle of public interest that land should actually be used properly. This means land owners should not be able to exercise rights of ownership over land without also actually using their land for something useful.

Terms such as Adverse Possession, Prescription, and squatters’ rights are all used to refer to this legal principle in England and Wales. A landowner may be considered to have effectively abandoned their rights to their land if a trespasser ejects them from possession and use of the property for a sufficiently long time, without the actual owner doing anything to regain possession of their property. In this case, the trespasser may be granted the right to become the new legal owner of the land.

What is a Possessory Title?

Possessory Title is a class of land ownership titles which is awarded in cases in which Title Absolute could not be granted to the owner. This could be because the title deeds have been lost, destroyed, or stolen, or because a claim for Adverse Possession has been made for the property. Having a Possessory Title to a property is considered by the HM Land Registry as a defect in the documentation, and it may be possible for another party to dispute your right to ownership.

Many older properties, which pre-date electronic title registration, may have a possessory title if they are missing the physical deeds. These properties can still be bought and sold, however their value may be affected.

Who can apply for Possessory Title?

The most general application is that someone who has possessed land without the actual owner’s permission, to the exclusion of the owner and everyone else, known as Adverse Possession. They might have the right to apply to the Land Registry to be registered as having the right to possess the land indefinitely. This can happen:

  1. after 10 years, if the land was registered with HM Land Registry, or
  2. after 12 years, if the land has never been registered before.

A tenant can never get these rights to land they came into occupation of as tenant – regardless of whether they actually pay any rent.

This product comprises taking your instructions and then preparing the necessary evidence and application to HM Land Registry for you to be registered with possessory title.

Can a Possessory Title be upgraded to Absolute Title?

If you have owned a property with a Possessory Title for 12 uninterrupted years, you will be able to make an application to the HM Land Registry to obtain a Title Absolute. This is often advisable, as it consolidates your position as the owner of the land, and it makes selling the properties easier, and likely more profitable.

As the Land Registry considers Possessory Titles to be “defective”, you will need to prove that all defects in the titles have been addressed.

If you have been recently granted a Title Absolute as an upgrade from a Possessory Title, your ownership rights may still be challenged by interested parties. It’s important to bring a strong case for a Title Absolute on a property obtained through Adverse Possession or Possessory Title, as any misleading or fraudulent information could result in the title being reverted, and even legal action against you.

It’s vital to have the legal support of expert Possessory Title Solicitors to ensure your ownership of a property is as secure as it can be. Contact us today to assess your case with our team.

How long will it take?

The production of the application and evidence is a complicated job that can take several hours once we can schedule it in our workflow, that can depend on how busy we are at any particular time. We would not usually take-on a job for which we could not engage within about a working week. However, we find getting complete instructions in these cases often takes days or weeks.

The completed application will then need to be submitted to HM Land Registry for registration. The time HM Land Registry takes to process such a registration varies greatly, depending on how busy they are. Some applications are processed very quickly, up to “next day”; however, most applications appear to languish awaiting HM Land Registry attention; in 2021, many applications have taken about 6 months to be registered – and some types of application can take even longer than that, unfortunately. However, once submitted HM Land Registry processes applications on any title in order of submission – so their delay ought not to affect the priority of your application relative to other matters on that title.

Can I get a mortgage for a property with a Possessory Title?

While transactions involving possessory titles are viewed as riskier than standard property sales, you can borrow from lenders to buy properties of this kind. Mortgage lenders will generally ask for additional information and documentation to ensure the transaction is safe and conducted in a way that protects everyone’s interests.

They will first ask to be informed if the property has a possessory title associated with it. The seller will also need to produce a Statutory Declaration, which must include all relevant information such as length of undisputed ownership.

It’s advisable to obtain Possessory Title Indemnity Insurance as an additional method of protection against claims by interested parties.

All of these steps can help you secure a mortgage for a Possessory Title property, but it’s important to note that some lenders may decide not to fund these purchases.

Money Matters

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We charge £950 + VAT = £1140 (+ HMLR fee, £30)

There is more about our fees on our website here

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Contact our Possessory Title Solicitors

Buying, selling, or managing a property with a Possessory Title can be challenging. Complications can arise easily if you do not have legal support by your side.

With our team of Possessory Title Solicitors, you can be sure that your ownership of the property is secure, whether you have owned it for years or looking to purchase it. We can guide you through the process of making applications and obtaining titles, documenting ownership to defend it from future challenges.

Mounteney Solicitors has been supporting individuals in Stockport, Manchester, and across the UK from our offices in Bramhall, Cheadle, and Heald Green. If you need legal advice regarding a Possessory Title property, contact us today. Our expert Land and Title Solicitors will assess your case, and advise you on your next steps.