Sydney man’s squatters rights earns him $1.7m property court win

A Sydney man has remarkably claimed a $1.7m home for virtually nothing in a bizarre supreme court win – all thanks to squatters rights.

Bill Gertos walked into the empty home in Ashbury more than two decades ago, changed the locks, renovated it and has rented it out ever since.

And despite being hit with an injunction from the family of the home’s last known owner, he has now been declared its rightful owner – thanks to the obscure laws.

Under squatters laws he’s actually managed to gain the possessory title to the property – having had to prove in court that the neighbours in the area had considered him to be the owner.

When approached by 7 News, however, most of the neighbours said they had never laid eyes on him.​

“No one knows him – if you knock on all the doors in this street, nobody knows who he is,” one neighbour said.​

​The family of a deceased man who bought the property back in 1927 served the injunction in the NSW supreme court but yesterday the court threw it out calling Bill Gertos, now a property developer, the title owner and ordered that the family pay costs. ​ ​

Squatters law allows someone to be granted ownership of a property if they have ‘openly occupied it for more than 12 years, without the permission of the owner.’

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