This is the begining of stuff about Adverse Possesion.

I received a query about squatting from someone in Canada. His idea of squatting was to have possesion of the land rather than just use of it.

The difference is a legal issue, at least here in the UK.

Squatting infers that there is an acknowledgement that there is occupation without the owners consent.

Adverse possesion is a title given to an occupier of any property where there has been no consent, generally after 12 years, where the occupier can show that s(he) or they, have had an exclusive use of the land. It is almost a requirement, where the property is open land, that it should have been fenced off.

The legal right to own the land comes from the fact that there are time limits on court actions. So if someone tries to reclaim property after 12 years, the courts will not hear the case. Effectively any owner will now be the trustee for any occupier. It would be prudent for the owner to release the property rather that have the responsibility that they may be liable to the occupiers. It is also open to the occupier(s) to register the land in their name.