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Sad to see the Palm Club burned to the ground, thank God no one was hurt.
The end of an era in the Bridge.
April 24th 2009
Squatters Rights aka Adverse Possession
The recent RTE celebrity battle over a piece of ground led me to ask:
WHAT IS THE LAW IN RELATION TO SQUATTERS RIGHTS AND HOW DOES ONE CLAIM SQUATTERS RIGHTS ON A PIECE OF LAND OR PROPERTY?
The Concept of Adverse Possession
Adverse possession (Squatters rights) represents a way in which an individual can gain de facto rights (claim ownership) through long use of someone else’s land.
In Ireland the limitation period is twelve years.
Thirty years for a state authority as set out in section 13 of the Statute of Limitation Act, 1957.
Essentially, if a trespasser or squatter enjoys adverse and exclusive possession of land for twelve years, which is inconsistent with the title of the true owner, then she or he may oust the registered owner and gain registered title, subject to certain rules for the registration of land.
(see Irish Land Registry for more details on registering land gained through adverse possession)
In Irish law, title to land is relative, land titles being secure only if and to the extent that no other person can assert a better title.
Adverse possession means that the registered owner does not know that his/her land has been occupied by another person and that no monitory or "other means of payment" have been agreed for such occupation and that the occupation has been adverse for a period of 12 years.
Subject to the rules of the Irish Land Registry Office, this land may be registered to the adverse possessors if no title dispute is entered in the period allowed for such appeals.
- or -
The registered owner does not have in his/her possession, or is not capable of providing the state, with the legal registration/title deeds or any other sales or lease agreement documents in trust or mortgage or any other freehold or leasehold title, or proof of use of the land for a period more than 12 years prior to the commencement of the adverse possession, or any other written bill of sale or sale agreement that prove his/her interest in the land that the ownership of which has been disputed by the possessor in situ, and that such adverse possession can prove that he/she has had unlimited access and use of the land, uninterrupted and undisputed for a period not less than 12 years.
Registered land will remain in the ownership of the title holder or his/her beneficiaries on the death of the title holder and will become the property of the next of kin of the title holder or his/her beneficiaries.
Non registered land (apart from land subject to turbury rights - see Irish Land Registry) is the property of the state and can only be registered to a private owner through adverse possession. Land is determined as any area of ground above the high tide mark and not being part of a river or lake, the determination of land in beeches, flood plains or lakes/rivers is more complicated and best left to the experts.