The litigation solicitors at BTMK have strong experience in dealing with individuals who have entered either commercial or residential property without the owner’s permission – what is commonly referred to as squatter eviction. We have represented many landlords of commercial and residential property in prompt action to recover their asset, being commercial where necessary in our advice to ensure that costs are kept in check and the end in sight.
The requirement to be even more commercial in our advice for squatter evictions is driven by the pressures on the Court and law enforcement which means that the process of removing squatters can be slower than in previous years. We have been instructed to act on behalf of landlords of prime real estate in central London as well as residential properties throughout Essex over the last few years.
Court proceedings are usually issued in the County Court but can also be issued in the High Court where appropriate. Speed is of the essence and there is a significant amount of work to be done before the hearing date is listed, which can usually be arranged within a week of issue of the claim for possession. The responsibility of serving the sealed court papers lies with the landlord and therefore our network of process servers and security agents are critical in ensuring that an effective hearing can take place once service of the papers has been effected.
The Court can be expected to make an Order for possession at the hearing if the squatters have not filed a defence. The order is enforced by Court bailiffs or alternatively, by High Court Enforcement Officers.
We can advise landlords on Interim Possession Orders (“IPO”) where appropriate, where, for example possession is required for an urgent or specific purpose. The main benefit of an IPO is that many squatters will leave of their own free will rather than risk being arrested as the failure to comply with an IPO after 24 hours after which time their continued occupation becomes a criminal offence.
Note that if the occupier has previously held a tenancy agreement of residential property, and has not left or has breached the terms of the agreement in any other way, they will not be regarded as a squatter and you should click here to see the possession services that we offer as a specialist area within BTMK for residential landlords using our fixed fee possession scheme.Download