May 14, 2018

NDP blocks abolition of adverse possession bill

Today, the NDP voted down Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried’s Bill 204, which would have abolished adverse possession legislation, commonly known as “squatter’s rights.”
The Bill sought to provide greater protection of the property rights for Albertans after a constituent of Gotfried’s had 750 square feet of his Lake Bonavista residential lot seized, without compensation, under an adverse possession claim because of this archaic Alberta law.
The constituent spent the past three years, and thousands of dollars, fighting a legal claim against his registered title due to the incorrect placement of a fence extending over the 10 year statute of limitations.
“Every resident of Alberta with an improperly placed fenced over a 10 year period is sitting on a time bomb to potentially lose their property, without compensation, due to adverse possession laws,” said Gotfried.
The current law has received steady criticism as a result. Both the Alberta Property Rights Advocate and the all-party Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship recommended the complete abolition of this law.  Inaction by this government and the rejection of this private members bill mean that Albertans’ property rights, as supposedly guaranteed by the Alberta Land Titles Registry, continue to be compromised by the existing law.
“It is unconscionable that some MLAs appear unwilling to take this opportunity to abolish a law that puts all Albertans at risk of unreasonable, yet completely legal, seizure of land they have purchased, registered, and paid taxes on,” said Gotfried. “This government has failed to do the right thing, and I am shocked and disappointed that this law will remain on the books because the NDP would rather play petty, partisan games than defend the property rights of Albertans.”
In a meeting today with the United Conservative Caucus, including Leader Jason Kenney, Gotfried received unanimous agreement to take a strong position on the abolition of adverse possession in the future.