The Ramat Gan Municipality Demands Return of a Property – Is Possession Really Nine-Tenths of the Law?
Many years ago the Ramat Gan Municipality gave permission to someone to use a plot of land for free. This man, a disabled war veteran, asked for and received a 450 sq. meter plot of land.
He paved it over and established a business on the plot. There was never any signed agreement between the municipality and this man, however he had promised to vacate the property if necessary. This was 30 years ago.
The Municipality asked for the land back and was refused. The man claimed that the property was given to him and that the Municipality could not renege on this.
The Municipality sued the man in the Magistrates Court. The Magistrates Court found in favor of the Municipality. The man appealed the court’s decision to the District Court. The District Court, too, found in favor of the Municipality.
The court ruled that the only right the man had in the property was the right to use the land and not a right of ownership. This means that although the man used the property for many years, he did not own the land and as soon as the Municipality revoked the right to use the land he was required to return it to the Municipality.
So, while possession may be nine-tenths of the law, it’s not always enough. If the property owner cancels the right to use the land, that land must be returned to its owner.