Squatting Information

Squatting is a legal term that is often misinterpreted. To clarify matters, a tenant who has an agreement or had an agreement with the landlord is not squatting. This is irrespective of whether they're failed to pay the rent for a period of time. A squatter is a person who has entered your property illegally. Either your tenant has let them in, or they have forcefully let themselves in while the property was left unoccupied or unsecured.

The Process that Must Be Followed

Although it is a criminal offense to trespass on residential property, the police are still somewhat unclear about this new law. Therefore they are often reluctant to get involved. However, if you have recently found out about splatters on your property and would like to find out how to go about evicting squatters, this is the process that you need to follow.

Extra information about evicting squatters

Interim possession order

Squatters can be removed from your property by applying for an interim possession order or IPO. Interim possession orders can be applied for within 28 days of finding out about the squatters on your property. You will receive confirmation of your IPO within a few days, and they will also send you documents that must be handed to squatters within 48 hours. Once your squatters have been handed or served with the IPO, they would have to leave your property within 24 hours and also stay away from the property for the period of 12 months or they will face imprisonment.

The Risks

If you fail to go this route, you should know that a long time squatter can possibly become a registered owner of the property once they've occupied it even without the owner's permission. They will need to prove that they had been in possession of the property for a minimum of 10 years and that they had acted as owners of the property the entire time. The squatters would then need to complete a form for adverse possession and accompany it with a statement of truth with a solicitor. However, the owner of the property has 65 days in which to object to this, and once they object to the application, it is normally rejected. However, the illegal squatters then have the privilege of reapplying in two years if they are still on the property and the owner hasn't made an attempt to remove them.

Damage to Your Property

If a squatter has caused damage to your property, then instead you should make a claim for possession which is a separate document. Alternatively if you're trying to evict former tenants, there is a separate set of documentation that you will need to complete.

Adverse Possession Claim

Adverse possession when it comes to residential property is illegal and punishable by a six-month prison sentence and or a 5000 pound fine. However, squatting in nonresidential properties is not a crime. However, you are still not allowed to damage that property, steal from the property or use utilities without consent or create loud noises and become a nuisance.

By having the correct documentation on hand, and following the proper procedure, evicting squatters is achievable.