Wed | Aug 23, 2017

A matter of land | How do I deal with these squatters on my property?

Published:Sunday | February 26, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Craig Francis

Good day; readers. The last time we spoke about adverse possession and the response was tremendous. Today, I will respond to a question from a reader about persons who are squatting on her property.

Good day Mr Francis,

I am faced with an issue of squatting on my property located in Portmore, St Catherine. I had served notice on the individual which expired on November 30, 2016. The squatter had agreed to purchase the area where he was squatting, as a concrete structure was built on it.

I had requested that the squatter make a deposit of 20 per cent of the sale price; however, the squatter is now claiming the area he has occupied is not owned by me. I have done more than one survey to prove that I, in fact, own the area but nothing has changed. Please tell me what to do.

Regards

S.E

Good day S.E,

I can imagine that this is a very stressful issue for you and must be causing you great anxiety.

I see where you said you have done surveys more than once to prove that you own the property, and I assume that you called a commissioned land surveyor who did this and pointed out to the squatter that he is occupying your property.

 

Get a Boundary Repegging and Surveyor's Identification Report done

 

Here is the course of action that I will suggest to you. First, you need to contact your land surveyor to conduct field surveys again and prepare for you a very detailed Surveyors Identification Report.

Ask the land surveyor to replace the pegs on ground according to the title plan or deposit plan. Then his report should show your property and the section of your property that is being occupied by the squatter.

It should show the concrete structure that is constructed on the section of the property you claim belongs to you. It should also state the amount of land (acreage) the squatter is occupying that belongs to you. If from the surveys it is evident that he is indeed squatting, then you take further action.

 

Consult your attorney-at-law

 

When you land surveyor produces the Surveyors Identification Report, ask him for two additional certified copies. You will then give one copy to your attorney who you will act on your behalf.

A copy of the report should be given to the squatter and you keep the next copy and place it in a file. Once you have done this you have your lawyer draft a letter to the squatter instructing him to either make an offer for purchase or vacate the premises in a prescribed time frame decided by you in consultation with your attorney.

Once this is done, you are now in a position to take further action if required, and you would have had the requisite documents needed and on the right side of the law in your actions.

If he fails to comply, you can go to court to have an order for him to be removed forcibly. I hope it doesn't come to that, and that the issue will be resolved in a mutually amicable fashion. Please update me on the progress.

Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or Precision Surveying Services