Possibility of Having Adverse Possession

In Hong Kong, especially in New Territories, many lands have been abandoned. The reasons for that are the lands are remote and the economic utility is low. After the death of the owners of the previous generation, the descendants may not know the existence of the land.


Most of the land is occupied by villagers nearby, such as farming or handling scrap vehicles.


In many cases, after a long period of occupation, the court will order the occupier to become the new owner of the land. This is the so-called “adverse possession”.


To achieve adverse possession, it is necessary to apply to the court, but before that, the following prerequisites must be met:


  1. How long has it been occupied?

According to the 《Limitation Ordinance》(Cap. 347), if it is private land, it must be at least 12 years (since January 7, 1991), whereas the government land is 60 years;


  1. Whether in the above-mentioned occupation period, it has not been opposed by the current land owner;


  1. The occupier shall have the intention to treat the land as his own land and shall present and persuade the court with various proof and evidence.

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