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Uninhabitable Redfern terrace once claimed by squatters set to be resold at auction

Kate McIntyre

Kate McIntyre, Property Journalist

The Daily Telegraph

Its walls are crumbling and its ceilings are stripped bare, but a notorious Redfern terrace once at the centre of a squatter dispute is set to change hands again after a forced sale five years ago.

What is left of the two bedroom terrace at 544 Elizabeth St is expected to fetch a seven figure sum when it goes under the hammer, despite being in an unliveable condition.

Listed with a price guide of $1m, the terrace is stripped to its timber frame at the rear where the bathroom and laundry once stood. The owners paid $100,000 more than its current guide when they purchased it five years ago.

544 Elizabeth St, Redfern is for sale.

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The owners bought the property for $1.1m in 2017 after a legal dispute involving the next door neighbours and a squatter led to the house being listed for forced sale.

After taking ownership of the terrace, the vendors had a development application approved for a second level extension and a renovation of the existing building in order to create a three bedroom residence.

The terrace is considered unliveable.

Its walls are crumbling.

Its ceilings have been stripped bare.

According to selling agent Mark Foy of Belle Property Surry Hills, they have since decided to sell the terrace and move to western Sydney to be closer to family.

The house made the news in 2017 after a man said to be squatting in the property for 10 years failed in his bid to claim adverse possession.

The man known as Andrew James said he was claiming squatters rights and intended to seize the property and renovate it in order to rent it out.

Just a timber frame and rubble remain at the rear.

Quite a clean up required.

A squatter lost a claim for adverse possession prior to it being last sold.

This occurred during a legal dispute launched by next door neighbour Gerard Knapp, who was concerned about potential structural damage and a pest infestation after the property had been left to ruin for several years.

Mr James lost his bid when the Supreme Court of NSW formally removed him as a defendant after the court heard that the property had been vacated.

Mr Knapp won a court order to have the property sold to recover his costs for what was described as “extensive water damage.”

An outhouse among the weeds.

The front entrance.

Several builders have expressed interest in the terrace.

At the time of proceedings, the owner of the property, Chinese-born Australian citizen Paul Fuh, reportedly hadn’t been seen or heard from since boarding a flight to Hong Kong in 2007.

Property records show he purchased the terrace in 1991 for $143,000.

Mr Foy said he had received inquiries from several builders since listing the property for sale – all of whom were interested in capitalising on its prime position on the high side of the street near the border with Surry Hills.

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