Squatters are unwanted people who have no right to be there on your property. It’s very likely that they are your disgruntled tenants or their friends who don’t want to pay to live on your land, rather than outlaws trying to steal your property. That’s right; your tenants have the potential to become squatters! It could also be a group of unauthorised people who have let themselves in while the property was left empty, unoccupied, or unsecured. While this progression is thankfully not common, the fact that it is so uncommon makes it even more difficult for landlords to deal with. Most landlords wouldn’t know where to start if they had a squatter problem. As a landlord, you should know how to serve an official eviction notice or whom to call to ensure the squatters are legally removed.
If you try to remove the squatters yourself with force or the threat of force, you’ll be breaking the law.
CPR 55.20 to 55.28 covers the process of obtaining an interim possession order (IPO). An IPO is an interim order requiring the squatters to vacate the property within 24 hours of pending a final hearing of the claim for possession. If the trespassers fail to leave, they can be arrested for committing an offence under s.76 of the 1994 Act.
Only apply for an IPO if it’s been less than 28 days since you discovered your property has been squatted. The landlord can file a complaint with the County Court in the area where the property is located. A hearing date will be set, and the squatters will be notified within 24 hours of receiving the documents.
The County Court after accepting your application will send you a confirmation of your IPO within a few days. They will also send documents that you must give to the squatters within 48 hours.
You can’t use an IPO, if-
A landlord can apply for an interim possession order from the County Court both individually and commercially. Once an IPO is served the squatters must leave within 24 hours from the property, or else they will be guilty of a criminal offence.
A few requirements from the landlord’s end need to be met for applying to the court. It’s important to note that the IPO procedure does not apply to open land, and the application must be submitted within 28 days of the landlord becoming aware of the illegal occupation.
The Court will require a Claim Form and an application for an interim possession order, as well as a supporting witness statement from the landlord.
A hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible after the Court issues the application for an IPO, but no later than 3 days after the issue date. The landlord must then serve the proceedings within 24 hours of receiving them.
The Judge will decide at the hearing if the conditions for an IPO have been met. If they have, they will be granted an IPO, which will then be prepared. The initial public offering (IPO) must be served within 48 hours of the Judge’s approval.
The IPO will also include a date for a final hearing, which will be held before the IPO expires. The Judge may issue a final Possession Order, dismiss the claim, or give directions at the final hearing. If the squatters vacate the premises before the final hearing, the final hearing may not be necessary.
The application for an IPO is a faster way to reclaim the property, with hearings scheduled much faster than normal possession proceedings. Furthermore, if the squatters have not vacated following the IPO, the landlord can instruct the police or private bailiffs to remove them.
Make sure you meet all the requirements before an application for an IPO is made to avoid unnecessary costs. In addition to legal fees, you will be required to pay disbursements such as the Court issue fee.
Use Shergroup’s service to evict squatters from your property where they have set up an unauthorised encampment. Our eviction experts can send a crew of trusted and experienced certificated enforcement agents to remove the squatters within hours. Why we suggest this service is because it will save you extra expenses for court proceedings.
We offer a complete end-to-end service to issue a Claim for Possession, obtain an Order, and enforce the same, including serving of Notices for a fixed fee. Our friendly business advisors will help you in taking a suitable approach to claiming your property back. Contact us today via our website www.shergroup.com or mail us at [email protected].
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Last updated | 19 July 2023
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