Adverse possession disputes
A person who has had open and obvious possession of a property for at least 12 consecutive years may have a right to claim title to the property.
A person who has had open and obvious possession of a property for a number of consecutive years may have a right to claim title to the property. In Queensland the minimum number of years is 12.
This is called adverse possession, or colloquially, “squatter’s rights”.
They will receive the property’s title even though they have not paid the registered owner any money for it.
If you want to make an adverse possession claim, or have had a claim made against your property, Gibbs Wright can help.
We deal with adverse possession claims across Queensland. We have experienced property lawyers who can deal with your dispute promptly and tailor a solution to your unique circumstances.
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How does adverse possession work?
Adverse possession law deals with land that has been overlooked because the owner has, for example, been dead or absent for a long time.
It involves obligations for an owner to use, maintain and defend land, and if these obligations are not met, the owner loses their right to the land.
Adverse possession claims are very rare.
The factual circumstances of adverse possession claims, particularly the many years of uninterrupted possession required without the consent of the registered owner makes claims few and far between.
This is especially the case now that technology has modernised searches, property ownership and the administration of estates.
What to expect
How do I make a claim for adverse possession?
To make a successful claim for adverse possession of land, generally the criteria that must be met are that the claimant:
- had exclusive, actual, continuous and uninterrupted possession of the land, without the owner’s consent, for a period of years;
- had possession that was open, obvious and intended, so that another person would assume the claimant owned it; and
- took possession peacefully (without force or violence).
In Queensland, a claim is made to Titles Queensland, and may only be made after 12 years.
Evidence that must be presented to prove adverse possession includes:
- names and addresses of neighbours to the land so they can be notified of the claim; and
- title documents for the land that are held by the claimant.
How do I defend a claim for adverse possession?
The burden of proof is on the claimant to demonstrate that they have adverse possession of the land (on the balance of probabilities).
The registered land owner may lodge a caveat over the land and present evidence to disprove the claim.
This could include evidence of entry to the land, removing structures on the land (such as a fence or building), and/or ordering the claimant to leave the land, during the claimed period of possession.
The strongest evidence a registered owner could produce is written acknowledgement that the claimant is occupying the land under an agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers
Few law firms specialise in litigation, and fewer still have the skill and understanding needed to litigate adverse possession disputes.
At Gibbs Wright, we practise exclusively in litigation and dispute resolution, and we want our clients to feel confident that they will receive unparalleled service and dedication.
Our firm represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of litigation and dispute matters no case is too small, too big or too complex for our lawyers to take up the fight. Each and every client receives the same level of attention and dedication, whether they are an individual or one of the nation’s biggest companies.
When it comes to adverse possession matters, look to Gibbs Wright’s experience to help take the stress, emotion and cost out of your dispute.
- Commercially viable outcomes
- Dedicated litigation firm
- Outstanding client satisfaction
- High success rate
- Direct contact with your lawyer
- Brisbane-based litigation team
How we help
Who and where we can help
We can offer strategic advice on the fastest and most cost-effective way to solve your adverse possession dispute. Our role can include negotiating on your behalf and/or representing you in court.
We have extensive experience in property law matters in Queensland, with an office conveniently located in Brisbane.
*Complimentary consultations are reserved for disputes over $250,000 and are subject to approval.