One of the most common problems that our clients come to us with is when they need to remove squatters from their vacant buildings or land.
Since squatting in residential properties was criminalised groups of squatters and activists have been targeting commercial (non-residential) buildings. Some are looking for place to live and others are occupying vacant property illegally as a protest or for other purposes.
The last thing property owners want is the stress and expense of a legal action to evict the squatters. Such stress and expense is often made worse with devaluation of property, loss of income, cost of repairs and clean up. Not to mention denial of access to their own asset..
Worse still, is the prospect of potential legal action being taken against the property owner by the squatters if they are removed unlawfully or suffer any injury on the premises.
Regrettably, once in occupation landlords do not have many options if they want to remove squatters as quickly as possible.
There is some good news though….
Depending on the circumstances, Property Guardian Protection will recommend either the property security response team or specialist High Court Enforcement Officers to undertake the removal of the squatters or trespassers on behalf of the landowner.
In many cases, there will be no need for a court order to evict squatters from a commercial property. It is possible to use landowners’ rights under common law to physically remove squatters in certain situations.This can be done within hours of them occupying the property.
A court order is not needed and possession of the property can be regained much quicker than by applying for an Interim Possession Order or a Court Order.
The teams that we work with are highly experienced and record the process of removing the squatters on body- worn video cameras to protect all parties involved (including the squatters). Often they know the squatters from previous encounters and a polite request to leave the premises might be all that is needed.
Once the squatters are off the premises it is extremely important to prevent re-entry. This may take the form of physical security measures at the vacant property or a proposal from PGP for placing guardians to occupy and protect the building.
The best thing a property owner can do is take preventative measures before the property becomes vacant or unsecured. Property guardians in vacant buildings and taking out preventative injunctions on empty land or building sites go a long way to avoid costly issues that arise when property is unoccupied.
If you are experiencing issues with squatters, trespassers or fly tipping at your vacant property then Property Guardian Protection can definitely point you in the right direction.