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Adverse Possession

Disputes over adverse possession can lead to nasty legal battles.

Often called “squatter’s rights”, adverse possession is when someone who occupies someone else’s land for an extended period of time, may then actually be able to assert an interest in that land. It could be fence line that had been erected in error, a misplaced building, or someone simply living permanently on land that is not their own.

Ontario’s Real Property Limitations Act sets out the 10-year limitation period that a landowner must bring to recover possession of their land once a right has occurred.

Land that is in the old Registry system in Ontario (as opposed to the Land Titles system) is open to claims of adverse possession. However, there is a high threshold for the possessor to prove they are entitled to the land, including providing evidence that:

  1. They had “actual possession” for the statutory period (10 years)
  2. The possession was intended to exclude the rightful owner
  3. The true owner’s possession was excluded; that is, the land has effectively been abandoned by the owners.

Our Litigation team has experience protecting rightful landowners from claims of adverse possession, and is prepared to take the battle to court in order to assert their rights.

For more information about adverse possession, contact our Litigation Group.

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