Joint adverse possession?

U Po Chu v Tsang Pui Ling [2016] HKEC 2673, CA, concerned a two storey stone house in Tsuen Wan. P brought possession proceedings against D1, a former tenant of part of the ground floor, amongst others. D1 relied on adverse possession; she stopped paying rent in 1985 but remained in possession. Other people occupied other parts of the building. D1 claimed to have been in adverse possession of the whole building jointly with the occupiers of the other parts.This claim was rejected at first instance and in the current proceedings the Court of Appeal (Cheung JA giving the judgment) refused leave to appeal. The judge at first instance had been quite right to hold that there was no evidence that the squatters were in joint possession of the whole building; on the facts of this case, each was in possession of its own part. While a successful claim by D1 to the part of the house that she had occupied was a possibility, it had not been pleaded and it was too late to introduce such a claim.

Michael Lower

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