Adverse possession is when a person who doesn’t have legal title over property, acquires legal ownership if the person had uninterrupted and exclusive possession of the land for at least 15 years and the same can be proven.

When a person is occupying land without authorisation, the owner generally has the right to eject them. It must be proven that:

  • Possession is not a secret;
  • It shouldn’t be by force; and
  • Adverse possessor intends to possess the land – fencing of land or payment of rates.

Adverse possession claims are complex to prepare and cannot be made against:

  • The Crown;
  • Council-owned land; and
  • Land owned by other authorities or bodies.

A true owner can disrupt an attempt at adverse possession by ejecting the adverse possessor and re-entering the land, rejecting the adverse possessor’s acts of possession (such as by removing a fence they have erected) or by initiating proceedings to recover the land.

Adverse Possession Claims