Adverse Possession Law

Surveying plays many significant roles in our society. From aiding the development of major building and engineering projects, to assessing parcels of land with accurate and imperative data. One of the most common needs for a land surveyor involves establishing and confirming property boundaries. This is important in processes such as buying or selling property, considering additions to a structure, and more. One unusual circumstance in which a land surveyor may be needed is in situations dealing with adverse possession law.

What is Adverse Possession Law?

In New South Wales, other areas of Australia, and across the world, there is a legal term which exists known as adverse possession law. Adverse possession is a property law in which one who occupies or is in possession of land legally owned by another is able to obtain ownership and title to that occupied land. A person simply cannot claim adverse possession of land without meeting certain common law requirements, however. Time is the first consideration. In NSW, a person must have had continued uninterrupted possession of said land for at least 12 years. The person must show open use of the land and intent to own the property. In addition, the occupation of the land must be adverse to the interests of the legal owner and without their permission. Thus, a rental tenant with an agreement with the landowner cannot claim adverse possession. There must be no exchanges or similar between the occupier and the legal land owner.

Why Adverse Possession?

Although this law can at first appear contrary and confusing, it is designed to protect those who have a “claim” to the land. For instance, an individual who has used a particular area of land for an extended period cannot be evicted through this law, should the true owner uncover a mistake or fault in his or her property’s boundaries. If their true boundaries extend into the occupied individual’s territory, by adverse possession law, these may now be claimed by the occupier. The legal owner in such a situation does not necessarily have the rights to reclaim their encroaching property. Encroachments might include a fence, driveway, or other feature.

The Surveyor’s Role in Adverse Possession Law

If a party attempts to make a claim to land through adverse possession , they will need to engage an experienced land surveyor. The surveyor will complete a thorough land survey, sometimes referred to as a “check survey.” He or she will determine the correct boundaries of the land/property using the original survey plan. The surveyor’s new findings will be compared with the original documents to determine the outcome of the claim.

Need a Survey?

If you require expert surveying or land mapping services, Leslie & Thompson is the capable land surveying team you need. With our state-of-the-art surveying equipment and advanced computer technology, we can swiftly and accurately complete the survey that meets your needs. Get in touch with us today for further details.