Eviction of Squatters Occupying a Property

Evictions of Persons Occupying a Property - Squatters

Two Very Important Questions we are asked everyday by landlords, land owners and developers:

Q - Is commercial squatting legal?

A - Squatting in non-residential buildings is still a civil matter. As the property owner there are procedures in law to have squatters evicted and the most common and effective option is a Writ of Possession through the High Court.

A -  What if I didn’t know that I had unauthorised persons in my property?

A- You are not covered by law, but also you are committing an offence.

A non-residential property is any building or land that is not designed to be lived in.

Squatting means occupying empty buildings, or land, without permission.

Being in another person’s commercial property without their permission is not usually a crime. The police can take action if squatters commit other crimes when entering or staying in a property.

Crimes include:

  • causing damage when entering the property
  • causing damage while in the property
  • not leaving when they’re told to by a court
  • stealing from the property
  • using utilities like electricity or gas without permission
  • fly-tipping
  • not obeying a noise abatement notice

Remove Squatters

We can remove squatters using an interim possession order (IPO) or making a claim for possession.

Do not try to remove the squatters yourself using force or the threat of force - you’re committing a crime if you do!!!

You can only apply for an IPO if it’s been 28 days or less since you found out your property’s been squatted.

Our legal partner law firms across England & Wales can assist you with the application for an Interim Possession Orders.

Possession orders summary of process

The Court will list a hearing to consider the application as soon as reasonably practicable but no less than 3 days after the date of issue.

The Notice of the interim hearing will need to be served within 24 hours of the application being issued, our Enforcement Agent will be required to serve the;

  • Claim Form
  • Application Notice
  • A prescribed form for the Defendant’s witness statement

It is critical to ensure that the claim is brought to defendants’ attention in a clearly visible location and that the IPO is served personally by our Enforcement Agent.

  1. If the Court grants the IPO, the Court will set a date for the final hearing which will be listed not less than 7 days from the date of the hearing;
  2. The IPO will need to be served within 48 hours after it is sealed together with the Claim Form and evidence in support, in accordance with the methods as previously set-out.

Section 10 of the Criminal Law Act (1977) makes it an offence to obstruct an Enforcement Agent executing a High Court Writ.

We are working and protecting Landlords, Land Owners, Developers, Agents, Solicitors plus many other associations in securing Vacant Commercial Premises, 7 Days a Week. With over 50+ Enforcement Agents covering every post-code in England and Wales our Recovery Account Team can assist you at every stage of the process.

We know Property Repossessions and temporary Security Guarding better than anyone!

  • 2,000 Enforcement Agent visits completed
  • 64,000 Security visits completed
  • 17,000 Property inspections

Questions:

What happens once I have my Writ of Possession?

Once solicitors have obtained the Writ of Possession, the solicitor with speak with us to discuss the High Court Enforcement of the Writ

How do you enforce the Writ?

Our High Court Enforcement Officers will proceed with the enforcement based on the nature of the occupants and our Risk Assessment.

Are there any conditions that I need to be aware of?

The law DOES NOT cover situations where:

  • The property is not residential,
  • People are or were tenants (including sub-tenants) of the property,
  • People have (or had) an agreement with someone with a right to the property,
  • People in the property are not intending to live there (merely visiting maybe).