Squatters’ Rights and Surveying (Adverse Possession Law)

A few years ago we wrote about Adverse Possession Law, more commonly known as Squatters’ Rights. Adverse Possession cases are rare, but when they do occur, they are complex and technical and require the services of a registered surveyor. Late last year, a case of adverse possession (McFar­land v Ger­tos [2018] NSWSC 1629) was proven in the New South Wales Supreme Court and is an example of how land can be lost when deceased estates are overlooked by executors. 

Examples Of Adverse Possession

Adverse possession cases do not always involve vacant properties like in the McFar­land v Ger­tos case. Adverse possession claims can be made when boundary fences have been placed incorrectly, or even when buildings have been erected in the wrong position. These types of cases are more common in rural areas and can be costly to landowners as they usually involve several acres.

Adverse Possession Survey

Any adverse possession claim requires the services of a licensed surveyor. Your first consideration when choosing a surveyor is how familiar they are with the local area. This is particularly important when large parcels of land are involved such as rural land ownership cases. A local surveyor is more likely to be familiar with the property and may have been consulted by neighbours or previous owners.

The surveyor will determine the correct boundaries of the property/properties according to the survey plan and mark where any current fence lines are so they can be compared. If the survey does confirm a suspected adverse possession issue, the next step is to seek legal advice.