Land & Property Rights Disputes
Property laws are extensive and cover a vast array of issues. Issues involving land or property between people can sometimes create legal rights which may need to be enforced by a Court Order.
Some of the more common land and property rights issues include:
• Adverse possession claims
• Disputed gifts or transfer of property
• Claiming an interest in property on the basis of a promise or contribution to the acquisition of that property by another
• Caveat disputes
• Removing covenants
Adverse Possession Claims
Under property law in Victoria, if a person has had uninterrupted and exclusive possession of land for a period of 15 years, that person can claim ownership of the land without paying for it. Usually, if a person is occupying land without authorisation, the true owner is able to eject them from the property. However, if the true owner does not exercise their right to eject the person and recover their property within 15 years, then they lose their right to do so and, as such, lose any legal ability to reclaim possession of the property.
The person claiming ownership by adverse possession must show they have enjoyed actual, open and exclusive but unauthorised use of the land for a continuous period of 15 years. This must not be secret and must not be by force. However, it is irrelevant whether the true owner is aware of the adverse possession.
If an adverse possession claim is made against your land, contact our experienced lawyer to gain advice on your next steps.
If you wish to seek title to land based on adverse possession claim, we can assist the process by making an application on your behalf.
Disputed gift or transfers of property
At times, parents may want to gift or transfer property titles to family members. These non-sale transfers may be due to wanting to give an early inheritance, for tax purposes or to gift to help a family member out.
However, in some cases the gift of property may be obtained unlawfully, such as where the person gifting the land does not have capacity to make the gift or where the recipient is unfairly taking advantage of the other person gifting the land.
If there is a dispute in the promise to gift or transfer land, we are able to give informative and efficient advice to achieve a favourable outcome.
Claiming interests in property
An interest in property may be legally recognised and enforceable even if the party claiming that interest is not registered on title.
The Courts have long held that certain kinds of conduct between people may create enforceable interests in property. These include contributions to the costs of acquiring the property, promises to transfer or gift a property in return for agreed upon actions, or where multiple people undertake a joint investment involving property but not everyone are registered on title.
These types of claims arise in the context of both family and business dealings.
In some cases, you may need to act promptly to protect your interests. We provide timely and efficient advice to assist if you find yourself in this type of situation.
A caveat on a property is registered on title and is effectively notice of an interest in or a legal claim to that property. This means no other transactions can be registered against the title of that property until the caveat is dealt with and withdrawn or removed.
There are limited grounds which enable a caveat to be lodged. A caveat can be challenged or removed with legal intervention. If you lodge a caveat without reasonable cause, you may be ordered to pay compensation to the property owner.
Our experienced lawyers can offer valuable advice on the validity of any caveat and the necessary steps to resolve the disputed caveat sooner.
A covenant is a formal agreement between land owners that limits the way land can be used or developed.
This may include restrictions on:
• how many dwellings are allowed to be built on the land
• the types of animals allowed on the land
• height of the dwellings built on the land
Our experienced lawyers have been successful in removing covenants to allow important developments to proceed.
Obtaining experienced legal help, provides a clear and straightforward outline of what needs to be actioned. Our professional lawyers effectively and efficiently understand your case and we ensure your voice is heard and represented accordingly. Contact us here for further information.
Would you like to know more?Contact our litigation expert Richard Kent on 1300 424 452 to receive personalised advice about your case.