Property Law uk

Maintained by Gary Webber



If a person is in occupation of property with the consent of the owner he is not in adverse possession. "It is clearly established that the taking or continuation of possession by a squatter with the actual consent of the paper title owner does not constitute dispossession or possession by the squatter for the purposes of the Act." (Pye v Graham at para 37). A number of matters arising out of this principle are dealt with on this page.

Change of paper owner

Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd v Walters
[2005] EWHC 669 (Ch)


The paper owner transferred the property and the new owner (the claimant in the case) became the registered owner. The defendants argued that this transfer brought the original licence granted by the original to an end so that adverse possession then started.


The defendants did not suddenly acquire an intention to possess when the transfer took place. They still believed that their possession was with the consent of the paper owner. Thus, adverse possession did not arise. To acquire adverse possession it is necessarily to show factual possession and intention to possess. Hart J at paras 40 and 41:
    "It is .. in my judgment clear that a person who is in factual possession and who intends to remain in possession (and to use that factual possession for his own benefit) so long as the true owner continues to permit him to do so does not have the necessary intention to possess for the purpose of starting a period of limitation running in his favour. Thus if .. As response to an inquiry as to how he happens to be in occupation and control of the locked house is that he is there with the permission of the true owner, it is not open to him to say that by being there he intends to dispossess the true owner. He does not have the necessary intention, and that is so whether or not he is correct in his belief that he does have that permission and whether or not he is correct in his belief as to the identity of the true owner.

    That position must (and can) be distinguished from the case where the squatter, knowing he has no permission, has the intention to possess ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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