Squatter’s Rights in Alberta

Squatter's Rights

Possession Is Still Nine-Tenths of the Law.

We’ve all heard this expression, and we kind of understand it. Someone occupies or ‘squats’ on someone else’s property and somehow, in some way, in some amount of time, the ‘squatter’ obtains some kind of legal rights.

But, that’s an ancient law, right? It probably doesn’t apply anymore, one of those legal myths? Wrong!

Squatter’s rights, otherwise known to lawyers as ‘Adverse Possession,’ are alive and well in Alberta.

N.B. Adverse Possession laws vary widely across Canada from province to province.

The legal rules surrounding Adverse Possession are actually quite well-known and easily provable in many circumstances. I’ve helped clients win some amazing victories in Adverse Possession court battles.

Here’s an example. Our client owns and operates a fenced storage yard. The neighbour is an oilfield services company. The fence surrounding our client’s storage yard enclosed a strip of the neighbour’s property 5 m wide and 80 m long. After a long and hotly contested trial, the court decided that the neighbour had not met the requirements for retaining ownership of that strip of land.

The court declared that our client is now the lawful owner and ordered the Land Titles Office to amend the titles accordingly. 400 m² is just over 4300 sq.ft.; that’s a good chunk of land even on an industrial lot. It’s a fascinating case and a pretty easy read. The court judgment is public information, you can read it online.

So, if someone is on your land or you are on their land, either way, don’t ignore it. Legal ownership may be disappearing or being created, you need to know!


Protect your rights in cases of Adverse Possession. Contact Barry for Alberta legal representation.

“Bed In” image by Lucie Provencher. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Generic 2.0