There is a building that takes up a quarter of my garden that I would like to gain possession of. The building in question is a a double door garage that opens up in to the back streets.

I know that this building has not been entered for at least 2 years, as the doors have been covered in cobwebs since we moved in.

From what I've heard the owner's husband passed away a year ago and the woman herself, is agoraphobic. I've tried talking to her via visiting and letters but she doesn't respond. I'm willing to pay a fair price, or even more.

Are there anything I can do to, lawfully, get her to relinquish these garages to me?

  • If the building and land are titled to and owned by her, there is nothing you can do to force her to sell to you. You're not a govt. entity and can't use any sort of imminent domain to obtain the land. Hire a estate agent to contact her and make an offer. If she refuses, that's that. Contacting her repeatedly to encourage her to sell could be seen as harassment: cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stalking_and_harassment Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 18:12
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    @BlueDogRanch: in the UK, buyers don't employ estate agents; so if the OP wants to buy the property, he needs to contact the owner directly. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:37
  • Good point, I didn't know that. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:18
  • FWIW it is eminent domain and not imminent domain.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 1:11

1 Answer 1


In the U.K., people do not own buildings - they own land and everything attached to it.

Therefore, in the first instance you should find out if the building is on a seperate parcel of land from what you think of as your property. Second, you should find out who owns the freehold (and any registered leaseholds) to both your property and hers.

Assuming that you own yours and she owns hers under simple freehold you can contact her and make a formal offer. If she accepts, great; if not, then that is her right.

Following refusal, you could simply take possession, becoming a squatter. Note that if you are asked to leave you must do so without delay. After 10 years of uncontested occupation you can apply for ownership under the doctrine of adverse possession.

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