2016Squatters and adverse possession

11 July 2016

Twelve years or fifteen years would seem like a lifetime to actually squat and occupy someone else’s property to gain full legal proprietary rights. From a strict legal perspective the squatter would need to

  • take physical possession (to the exclusion of the true owner)
  • change the locks
  • not pay rent
  • maintain the property and the fences
  • probably have to pay the rates
  • insurance would be optional
  • treat the property as if you were the true owner (living there as the occupier as opposed to collecting rent) and
  • carry on the above for the prescribed period (12 years NSW / 15 years Victoria)

Not impossible but highly improbable in the middle of built up Melbourne or Sydney.

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian have published stories of a Redfern terrace being recently taken over by a squatter and an absentee Chinese owner who apparently left Australia and gone back to China in 2007. Time is ticking

A long-vacant property in Oxford, once occupied by squatters when owned by University College.