It can be distressing, infuriating, and worrying when unwanted people take over your property. Squatters can make the place impossible to clean and maintain. You can’t let it to tenants or sell it. The condition of the building can quickly deteriorate and there can be a lot of expensive damage. The best course of action is to get rid of squatters as quickly, efficiently and peacefully as possible.
Dealing with squatters legally is a complex business. It’s also time consuming, stressful and potentially costly, and you have to make sure it’s done properly. There are two processes, residential and commercial, and we’ll help you with both.
To remove residential squatters, you need an interim possession order (IPO). Alternatively you can make a claim for possession. If you want to use an IPO you’ll need to have discovered the squatters 28 days or less ago. The IPO is filed at your local county court and once it’s confirmed you have to hand it to the squatters within 48 hours. Once served they must leave within 24 hours and stay away for 12 months. Now you can make your claim for possession. You can’t use an IPO when claiming for damage, you go straight to a claim for possession. And it doesn’t work if you want to evict former tenants, sub-tenants, or licensees.
The second way, a claim of possession, is only used against the people who entered and stayed in the property without your consent, so it can’t be used to evict a tenant.
Commercial squatter evictions are often easier and faster. An enforcement officer will access the property and evict the squatters, often supported by the police and usually within 24-48 hours, with no court order needed. If things are more complex than usual the eviction process is similar to the process we use for residential properties.
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