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How to Remove a Squatter from Your Home

The number of squatters in the UK jumped from an estimated 9,500 in 1995 to an estimated 50,000 in 2016.

Squatting is a serious problem for homeowners who would suddenly return to find strangers illegally residing in their homes. As there is never a guarantee that squatters will cooperate and leave when asked, this is a potentially dangerous situation.

As a security and enforcement company offering bailiff services, MS Webb can offer advice on how to legally remove squatters from your home. Squatting in residential buildings is a criminal offence, which means uniformed police can arrest squatters if there’s reasonable cause that they are living or intending to live anywhere on the property.

If you violate the legal process, however, you may also be committing a civil offence yourself.

Avoid becoming the defendant by observing these legal procedures for removing or evicting a squatter from your home.

1. Give Notice

First, give the squatter a notice to leave your property. Most squatters don’t want to deal with the police, so they leave when given notice.

2. Call the Police

If the squatters aren’t former tenants, they are trespassers and can be taken away by law enforcement. Police intervention will not immediately apply to former tenants because the law requires a different process for tenant eviction.

3. Using an Interim Possession Order (IPO)

If a squatter refuses to leave after you’ve given them notice or the police are slow to act on removing them from your property, you can file for an interim possession order with your local county court. You must file an IPO within 28 days of learning that someone is squatting on your property. Otherwise, you’ll need to explore other options.

Once a squatter is served with an IPO, they have 24 hours to leave the premises. They are forbidden to return to the property in the next 12 months. If they fail to do either, they will face arrest and detention.

Take note that an interim possession order doesn’t apply to tenants-turned-squatters. Again, there is a separate process for tenant eviction as it will end with a court order. There are other prerequisites and conditions for filing an IPO that our agents at MS Webb can discuss further with you.

4. Using a Claim for Possession

A claim for possession is an alternative if more than 28 days have passed since you first discovered that squatters have been living on your property. This is also the best option if you want to file a claim for the damages squatters did to your home (e.g., broken windows and doorknobs, stolen household goods, etc).

You can’t claim a payout if you evict squatters through interim possession orders. Like with IPOs, possession claims are filed at the local county court.

Be calm throughout the process. Blustering and threatening violence is not only illegal, it can also incite an aggressive response from squatters. Follow the legal steps above so that no one can turn the narrative around and make you the defendant in another case.

Reclaim your home as quickly and safely as possible with MS Webb.

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