Prevention is always better than cure. However, if your commercial or residential property has been unlawfully or illegally occupied, Secure Empty Property can help with removing squatters efficiently.
Trespassers and professional squatters
Trespassers illegally occupying a property has become much more common following legislation change which resulted in squatter removal from residential to commercial property. Together with professional and organised support groups, squatting is now a real issue for property managers and landlords. Not only can this result in vandalism, metal theft and a delay in re-letting, the illegal use of the property is also a real concern.
This can include illegal raves, drug dealing, cannabis growing, storage of stolen goods etc which are a real concern for neighbouring tenants, local businesses and the community. The fact that squatters are using your utilities; water, gas, electric – just adds insult to injury.
Open land, car parks and building sites are also at risk. Traveller trespass and occupation with caravans or vehicles creates its own headache which can include expensive fly-tipping and costly removal of – potentially hazardous – waste. Not to mention highlighting concerns of the community and local press to future property developments.
Helping landlords with squatter removal
Protection for the landlord in England and Wales through the police is very limited which can make removing squatters a difficult process. So the landlord can be faced with significant legal costs to recover the property by eviction – and the subsequent cost of the clearance and damage which may not be covered by property insurance.
Court proceedings to achieve an eviction through an Order of Possession may be the only recourse for effective squatter removal. Ideally, the case can be transferred to the High Court for Enforcement under Section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984. This is best requested at the initial application for the Order for Possession. However, you have an existing Order for Possession, the landlord can make this request using the form N244.
Secure Empty Property work alongside some of the largest Bailiff companies in the UK to support the bailiff eviction process with scheduled attendance at the site, provision of images and inspection reports to support insurance claims and to re-secure the property to prevent the squatters return. We can remove and store squatters belongings prior to disposal or allow schedule and secure access to the property for their collection.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I evict squatters legally?
Squatting in non-residential property is a civil matter and so the police will not support the landlord in this process. Landlords must apply to the courts to evict squatters using authorised bailiffs. Once vacant possession is gained, Secure Empty Property will secure the site to prevent re-occupation.
There is more advice on the Government website – https://www.gov.uk/squatting-law/squatting-in-nonresidential-properties
How much does it cost to remove squatters?
The cost of civil actions and legal advice will vary but the costs can be significant and timescales extended. Working with a bailiff can help manage the process and they can make the necessary applications to the courts etc. Legal costs can be minor compared to the cost of damage and clearance to a squatted property as well as delays in gaining possession.
Do squatters have any claim to my property?
Squatters only have a claim to the property title if they have been in continuous occupation for over ten years. Even then it is a complex legal position if they can claim any rights to the property.
Squatters are however protected by law from harassment, intimidation or from landlords attempting to evict them without due process.