Sydney Man Keeps Free House Using 'Squatters Rights' Law
In a controversial ruling, a Sydney property developer has won the ownership rights to a deceased estate in the inner west after he helped himself to the home 20-years-ago.
Bill Gertos revealed he gained entry to the double-brick home in Ashbury back in 1998 and then changed the locks after the previous tenant, an elderly woman, had died.
The property is now believed to be worth around $2 million.
And while he has never lived in the property, a court has now ruled that Mr Gertos is the legal owner due to controversial squatter’s rights.
Over the past twenty years, Mr Gertos has done a number of renovations on the property and also leased it to renters even though he wasn’t the legal owner.
Under the letter of the law, people are granted ownership of a property if they have occupied it for more than 12 years without permission from the owners.
The family of the previous owner had recently filed an injunction to stop Mr Gertos from claiming ownership of the title.
However, the injection was dismissed by a judge and to rub salt into the wound, the family were also instructed to pay Mr Gertos’ legal costs.