Property & Development

Adverse Possession

Guiding you through the process of making a claim, or challenging an Adverse Possession claim that has been made on your land.

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Adverse Possession Lawyers Geelong & Melbourne

The Coulter Legal Property & Development team can guide you through the process of making a claim, or challenging an Adverse Possession claim that has been made on your land. 

What is Adverse Possession?

Essentially, Adverse Possession allows a person to claim title to land that is not owned by them. It occurs where a person has had exclusive possession of land for a period of 15 years without the consent of its true owner. For a claim to be eligible, the land must have been possessed exclusively by the person making the claim and not be of shared or communal interest.

When does Adverse Possession arise?

Commonly, Adverse Possession arises in instances where fences or buildings encroach over a title boundary, or where someone has fenced off and used areas of land that do not belong to them. It can also be applicable when a property has been sold, but it is then brought to the vendor’s or purchaser’s attention that the physical boundaries do not match the title boundaries. It is important to obtain legal advice to ensure that appropriate steps are taken in order to secure your adverse possession rights, or to prevent a person or neighbour from claiming your land.

How do I claim a title through Adverse Possession?

Coulter Legal can assist you with applications made to Land Use Victoria, or the courts for an order vesting title to the adversely possessed land in the applicant. The type of application used and the approach taken will depend on the unique circumstances of each case. Accordingly, it is recommended that you seek the advice of one of our lawyers if you believe that you may have a claim for Adverse Possession, or if a claim has been made against your land.

We understand that each application turns on its own unique circumstances and we tailor our advice with this in mind in order to meet your objectives. Whether you are seeking to make an Adverse Possession claim or have received notice of an Adverse Possession claim which will impact your property, we can review your individual circumstances and provide you with advice on the likelihood of success of any claim. We can also assist with drafting and lodging the necessary applications to either make a claim for Adverse Possession, or defend a claim that has been made against your land.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is still possible to make a claim over land that you have not possessed in your own personal right for 15 years or more. In these instances, a Deed of Assignment of Possessory Right can be used to show that possession of the land has been transferred to you by other persons who have possessed the land for a period sufficient to satisfy the 15-year threshold.

Our Property & Development team have extensive experience in drafting and preparing Deeds of Assignment of Possessory Right and can assist you in establishing the ‘chain of possession’ capable of satisfying the 15-year requirement for adverse possession.

The type of application that a person has lodged will usually dictate how the claim is defended. In any event, if someone has lodged a claim against your land, you will receive a notice from Land Use Victoria, the Magistrates Court of Victoria or the claimant’s lawyer.

If you receive a notice setting out that someone is claiming title to your land via possession, it is extremely important to seek urgent legal advice.

If the notice comes from the Office of Land Titles, the claim can be defended via lodging a caveat against the certificate of title for the claimed land. This then notifies the Land Use Victoria that you intend on defending the claim. It is extremely important that you seek URGENT legal advice if you receive a notice in the mail. There is usually only a 30 day timeframe in which a caveat can be lodged before an order is made. If a caveat is not lodged within the 30-day time frame, you will have to apply to the County Court of Victoria to defend the claim.

If you receive a notice from the Magistrates Court, you will need the assistance of a lawyer to file your defence or counter claim. There are various time constraints surrounding the filing of defences and counter claims and therefore it is recommended that you seek urgent legal advice if you receive a notice from the Magistrates Court of Victoria.

It is not possible to claim adverse possession over any of the following types of land:

  • Roads or footpaths
  • Railways or land owned by a rail corporation
  • Any land owned by a water authority
  • Common property owned by an Owners Corporation (formerly known as a body corporate)
  • Crown Land
  • Land owned by a local council
  • Parks and reserves
  • State forests or National parks

Obtaining legal advice is crucial if you intend on lodging or defending a claim for adverse possession. There are a range of different applications available, depending on the circumstances of the intended claim. It is therefore important that you seek the advice of a lawyer to ensure that the correct application is lodged.

In addition to the above, extensive legal documentation is required to establish evidence of possession. In most instances, a series of statutory declarations are required from the applicant and at least two (2) dis-interested witnesses.  Based on the complexity of evidence required to prove adverse possession, it is important to seek legal assistance to ensure that your application reaches the evidentiary burden required for a successful claim.

In the instance that you intend on defending a claim, it is important that you seek the advice of a lawyer to ensure that a caveat is lodged in time and/or a defence filed in the relevant court.

In some instances, it may be necessary to go to Court. If you have lodged a claim and it becomes contested at the County Court of Victoria, you shall be required to attend Court and give evidence in support of your claim. Alternatively, if you choose to defend a claim via seeking an order of the County Court, you will need to attend Court to give evidence on why adverse possession should not be allowed.

In some instances, adverse possession can be claimed in conjunction with a fencing dispute at the Magistrates Court of Victoria. Similar to the above, you may be required to attend Court in this instance to give evidence either in support of or against the claim for adverse possession.

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Viv StrettonViv Stretton
02:11 07 May 24
I am grateful for the assistance I have been provided by James Maxwell and the team supporting him. My queries and concerns were heard and responded to in a prompt, caring and professional manner. I am very satisfied with the outcome of what was a long, drawn out and at times stressful process, and felt I was supported and advised in a knowledgeable and ethical manner.I highly recommend James and the team at Coulter Legal.
phillip phylandphillip phyland
13:09 19 Apr 24
I’m personally very disappointed in coulter legal. The extremely high price charged did not match the work a simple probate application only two companies needed approaching and this was a 4 week time frame at one attempt per week. In the end it was my one phone call to each company to achieve what they couldn’t in 4 weeks. Mind you this company was paid up front and didn’t seem to concerned on a time frame. Our family was only wanting matters settled asap. I would seriously recommend shopping around and finding someone with compassion. Did we end up with the certificate of probate yes.did we get it in a reasonable time frame ? No.Phil.
Kim HitchensKim Hitchens
23:24 05 Apr 24
Satbir is an exceptional lawyer and human being. He is able to skillfully navigate family law matters in a pragmatic way that always honors the unique needs of the children and families he represents. I can't speak highly enough of Satbir. I will be forever grateful for the positive child focused outcomes he has achieved and the compassionate way he conducts himself.
Andy JCAndy JC
01:49 30 Mar 24
Very helpful team. Stored my land title for over 40 years safe and sound, easy to deal with for release when property was sold.
Laura MLaura M
03:44 20 Mar 24
Satbir was excellent very understanding and knowledgable during a tough time
Heather EnnorHeather Ennor
01:51 20 Mar 24
Extremely Happy with the professionalism and dedication I received from Satbir Singh in relation to the situation I found myself in.His expertise and advice has been greatly appreciated.I would strongly recommend him and his firm.Feeing very relievedHeather Ennor
Dominic LuddyDominic Luddy
02:28 17 Mar 24
Satbir has been a great ally in what has been a very protracted experience to settle parenting and financial matters during separation. He has gone above and beyond for me on several occasions, making sure everything has been as smooth as possible, and important to note in legal circles, I’ve always felt that the fees have been very reasonably applied - which did not appear to be the case for my partner’s legal representative.
Nicole LeeNicole Lee
05:44 07 Mar 24
Satbir is a wonderful family lawyer who is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He has gone above and beyond for me, making sure everything has been as smooth as possible.
Glen BurkeGlen Burke
02:39 01 Mar 24
James Maxwell is your typical family law expert who provides an emptying of your bank account with very little outcome achieved or accountability. Extremely disappointed. To his credit the system allows and supports this type of behaviour......when will things change? I am disgusted. Do not trust lawyers in general, the system is broken
Tony HorshamTony Horsham
12:44 13 Feb 24
Satbir from Coulter Roach was very professional, knowledgeable and easy to deal with. He worked very hard to achieve a favorable outcome. I would recommend Satbir to anyone who is looking for these qualities in a solicitor.
Carli HesterCarli Hester
20:38 09 Feb 24
From my very first meeting with Satbir, it was evident that he approached his work with genuine care and empathy. Satbir took the time to listen to my concerns and understand the complexities of my situation, providing guidance and reassurance every step of the way.Satbir navigated the legal aspects of my separation with diligence and proficiency, ensuring that my rights were protected and that I understood the implications of every decision we made.What truly set Satbir apart was his kindness and compassion. He provided not only legal counsel but also emotional support, offering a listening ear and words of encouragement when I needed them most.Thanks to his guidance, I was able to navigate the challenges of my separation with greater ease and confidence. He helped me find clarity in a time of confusion and provided me with the strength to move forward toward a brighter future.I would not hesitate to recommend Satbir to anyone in need of legal assistance, knowing that they will receive not only top-notch legal representation but also the compassionate support they deserve.
Mark HockeyMark Hockey
23:59 08 Feb 24
Satbir is highly recommended, personable and understands the importance of meaningful legal direction. He capably reads the room and does all and sundry for the best outcome for his client. He certainly shows compassion. He is a wealth of knowledge and represents Coulter Legal with integrity and respect.
Michelle PantelicMichelle Pantelic
06:46 08 Feb 24
Highly recommend Satbir Singh from Coulter Legal. He helped me through my legal separation and made the process as stress free as possible
Meredith HamblinMeredith Hamblin
04:35 08 Feb 24
Excellent, caring staff. Thank you for the support and assisting in my property settlement. Highly recommend Coulter Legal.
Tegan McPhailTegan McPhail
23:12 06 Feb 24
Satbir and Jade helped me finalise a good portion of my matter. They were very patient and understanding with an honest and full disclosure of expected costs.Thank you Jade and Satbir
Ravi D ManshaRavi D Mansha
06:08 31 Jan 24
I would like to thank Satbir Singh from Coulter Legal. He is a very experienced and professional special counsel who works with clients at their own pace, portrays empathy and emotional intelligence to help resolve legal matters. I would be very happy to recommend Satbir to anyone who is seeking family and relationship law related services. Thank you again Satbir for your time and services.
Dianne ToeDianne Toe
05:33 24 Jan 24
We were very happy with the level of care and attention to detail provided by all of the members of the Coulter legal team. Our property transaction was quite complex and we received timely and thorough advice every step of the way.
Julie MoralesJulie Morales
02:12 28 Dec 23
Isaac and his team recently assisted my mother with the finalisation of my father's estate. The service and attention to detail provided by Isaac and the team was excellent. He was always empathetic to this being a very difficult time for my mother and would explain the process in layman’s terms so we always understood where all matters were at. We would have no hesitation in using the professional services of Coulter Legal again in the future.
Ricky HowlingRicky Howling
23:16 22 Nov 23
Lauren & Tom could not have been more accommodating in facilitating the sale of our small business. All queries were always attended to in a timely manner which made us feel at ease throughout the entire process. I highly recommend Coulter Legal if you are selling (or purchasing) a small business.
Alisha hallAlisha hall
11:28 28 Sep 23
I am incredibly grateful for the support and outstanding outcome of my family law case thanks to Satbir Singh. He is not only highly professional but also incredibly assertive in his approach. Satbir is a quick responder, which made me feel supported and informed throughout the entire process. I couldn't have asked for a better attorney to represent me. Highly recommended!

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If your require any further information please contact our Property & Development team.