Date
18 August 2017
With titles for a lot of land in New Territories not clearly defined, Hong Kong has faced some challenges. Photo: HKEJ
With titles for a lot of land in New Territories not clearly defined, Hong Kong has faced some challenges. Photo: HKEJ

More protection eyed for property owners over adverse possession

Hong Kong’s Law Reform Commission has proposed ten amendments to a statute in a bid to enhance protection to property owners over adverse possession, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

The proposal, which came after a year of consultation, calls for retention of the provisions related to adverse possession.

Under the amendments, squatter on registered title land will have a right to apply for registration after 10 years’ of uninterrupted adverse possession, instead of 12 years.

Yet, the matter can only be referred to the adjudicator for resolution if the squatter is not evicted and remains in adverse possession for two more years.

The squatter would be entitled to make a second application for the resolution.

Given the fact that the titles for 20 percent of land in New Territories have not been clearly defined, the provisions could be difficult to execute, the report cited rural representatives as saying.

Veteran surveyors urged the government to hasten the process in redefining ownership boundaries in the territories and not to implement the amended law before the adoption of the Land Titles Ordinance.

The city has seen 17 lawsuits of adverse possession so far this year. The number for last year topped 30.

Landmark cases over the years include one pertaining to the title of some land near Russell Street in Causeway Bay. The case arose as owner Hysan Development Co. Ltd. (00014.HK) tried to take back the property in 2009.

An appeals court reverted part of the property to the squatter last year.

VW/AC/RC

Freelance journalist

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