Real Estate

squatteraes rights case sees man granted ownership of 1 7m home

Written by The ReReport

6 Malleny St, Ashbury. Picture: Christian Gilles

THEY say the property market in Sydney is hard to crack. Well, not if you’re this guy.
Not only has a Sydney bloke scored a $1.7 million home for absolutely nothing, but it’s likely he has raked in close to $250k from the property over the last 20 years as well.
Back in 1998, Bill Gertos noticed an abandoned home in the inner west suburb of Ashbury.
After asking around he discovered the elderly lady who had lived at the home at 6 Malleny St had recently died.


6 Malleny Street AshburyNice place.

6 Malleny Street AshburyModern.

“I made the decision to actually go onto the property to see what the state of affairs was,” he said in an affidavit.
“I recall walking to the front door and knocking on it. There was no answer. I found the rear door was off its hinges and placed to the side.”

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So what did he do next? He fixed the place up a bit and rented it out. And for a pretty penny too.
Seven years on, in 2015, he was asking $295 per week in rent and when it was last listed for rent the asking price had doubled to $600 per week.
With these sort of numbers over 20 years — even if it wasn’t always rented — he would have pocketed well in excess of $250k.
All that despite not being the legal owner.

SquatterThe median house price in Ashbury is more than $1.5 million. Picture: Christian Gilles

As well as renting it out though, he changed the locks, did a schmick reno on the place and paid all the bills — including council rates.
And that is how he came to secure ownership of the property.
The NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of Mr Gertos in a weird squatter’s rights case.

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Mr Gertos said he received legal advice that if he could occupy the property, pay the bills and look after it for at least 12 years he could claim “adverse possession”.
As such, last year he requested that the Registrar-General register him as the owner.
And, after this was unsuccessfully disputed by descendants of the original owners, he will now become the registered owner.
Not a bad effort from possibly Sydney’s most persistent man.
Now there’s only one question left: ‘Where do we find our own abandoned homes to try to do the same thing?’

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