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How to Get Squatters Off Your Property

If there is an unwelcome squatter residing on your property, you need to take action immediately. It could be that your tenant has allowed them entry, or they entered while the property was left unsecured. Regardless, evicting squatters from your property can be a complex and costly process.

Residential vs Commercial Squatting

Squatting in a residential property such as a house or flat is illegal in the UK and can result in a £5,000 fine and 6 months imprisonment.

The law does not clearly prohibit squatting in non-residential or commercial properties such as shops, cafés, or office blocks. This is why most squatters would target this type of property compared to residential spaces.

The police can only intervene if the squatters are committing other criminal offences such as:

  1. Fly-tipping

  2. Stealing valuables from within the property

  3. Causing damage when entering and/or occupying the property

  4. Refusing to vacate the property when ordered by a court

  5. Unauthorised use of utilities such as gas, water, and electrics

Removing and Preventing Squatters

The law prohibits landlords or property owners from removing squatters by force or the threat of force. However, there are several actions you can take to keep squatters out.

Lock Your Premises

Ensure all windows and doors are locked to prevent unauthorised access to your premises. Put up fences and barricades to ward off intruders. Install a security system such as CCTV cameras, motion detectors, or intruder alarms.

Make Regular Visits in Person

Checking up on your premises regularly will help spot any squatters sooner and reduce the risk of damage. If you are unable to visit in person, at least give the impression that the property is occupied by putting up curtains or asking a neighbour to visit now and then.

Call the Police

Trespassing on a residential property is a criminal act. Should you find unwanted individuals in your home or flat, you can ask the police to remove them from your property immediately.

Go to Court

While pursuing litigation might cost you more, it can guarantee a quick, safe and efficient eviction.

An interim possession order (IPO) is the quickest court procedure to evict squatters. However, an IPO can only be used if it has been 28 days or less since you learned that your property is occupied by squatters.

Once the IPO has been served, the squatters can face imprisonment if they fail to vacate your property within 24 hours or keep out of the premises for 12 months.

Recover Your Property Today

Squatter evictions require fast action. At MS Webb, we pride ourselves on our 24-hour service and rapid response throughout England and Wales. Our network of dedicated bailiffs and agents strive to handle the entire repossession as smoothly and amicably as possible.

If you would like to know more about our possession of property services, call 0844 544 4804 today.

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