Squatter's Land Rights Ireland

Squatters Land Rights Ireland

Learn more about squatter’s land Rights in Ireland with Karen Walsh of Walsh and Partners, who writes a weekly column in the Irish Examiner about farming law, land law and all things rural:

Dear Karen,

It has come to my attention that many years ago, my father squatted on land that bordered his farm and used it as if it was his own land. The problem is, that over twenty years ago he transferred the farm to my name and I also used this land as if it were part of the farm. 

This has never been an issue in the past, however, I have no title to this land and neither did my Father. Is it too late now or is it possible to get this land titled to me? I would really like to get this sorted out finally and not have to worry about it into the future. 

Thank you, XY

Squatter’s Land Rights Ireland

Dear XY,

First things first, let me tell you that this is not an unusual position to be in. My advice to you is to get in touch with a land law solicitor who specialises in Squatter’s Land Rights Ireland as it could be a complicated matter and not something you should try to deal with yourself. 

Your solicitor will require some very detailed information form you in order to establish a case for land transfer to your name. 

  1. When did your father first start using the land?
  2. When did you first start using the land?
  3. When was the farm transferred into your name?
  4. What have you been using the land for?
  5. Was this land ever leased from anyone, i.e. did you pay a rent on it at any stage?
  6. If you did pay rent, who was it paid to?

An in-depth history of the land usage will be required to optimise the successful outcome of your case. 

The registered property owner will also have to be discovered and we’ll need to find out if it is a land registry or a deeds title so we know what court to make your application through. 

Adverse Possession Law Ireland

Adverse possession in Ireland, as it currently stands, may allow you to make a claim on land that is not registered in your name. If you have occupied and used the land for over twelve years (exclusively) you may have a case. 

If the original owner has not used the land or then there is a real possibility that they can be unregistered as the owner and you can gain title. 

Here are a number of ways in which you can claim adverse possession and hence title to the land:

  1. Use of the land exclusively and continuously for over twelve years. 
  2. The registered owner has died over six years ago.
  3. If the land is owned by the state, the usage law stated in the first point is extended to thirty years.
  4. A simple occupation claim will not be sufficient to establish your case. Usage is the key word here.  
  5. There must be no doubt that the current occupier of the land has been the sole, continuous occupier for this time period. 
  6. A sporadic use of the property will not be sufficient to enter a claim for possession. 

Each case will be assessed individually and on its own merits. There is no one size fits all for this type of action. 

How do you make a claim for Adverse Possession?

With the assistance of your solicitor, an application should be sent to to the Property Registration Authority along with a detailed affidavit detailing the history of usage and occupation with all relevant dates included. This will be your evidence that the property is in your possession. It is up to you to prove the claim to the Property Registration Authority. 

Karen Walsh specialises in Farming Law, Family Law and Personal Injuries and can be contacted at the following:

(021-4270200)

Email: info@walshandpartners.ie 

Web: www.walshandpartners.ie

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