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If your commercial premises or land has been entered or broken into by squatters (trespassers), our specialist team can assist you in obtaining a Possession Order using Court action.
From 1 September 2012, a new criminal offence of squatting in a residential building was introduced. The new offence does not apply to occupation of commercial premises, so it will be necessary for owners of commercial property to continue to rely on the existing civil remedies.
Under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, it is an offence for a property owner, without lawful authority, to use force or violence to recover possession of the property. Therefore, it will generally be necessary for a property owner to issue civil proceedings against the squatters.
Our specialist team can assist a commercial landlord to draft the appropriate documentation to issue proceedings against the squatters in the County Court. Once the claim is issued, the Court will list it for an early hearing date.
We operate on a low fixed fee basis
A Possession Order will be granted at the hearing, unless the squatters defend the claim and prove to the Court that they have a legal interest in the land. The possession order will usually provide for immediate possession of the property.
If the squatters fail to vacate the property of their own accord, our enforcement team can transfer the matter to the High Court for enforcement, which is a quicker process than using the County Court Bailiffs. Additional permission is not required from the court to allow a High Court Enforcement Officer to undertake the eviction.
The entire process usually takes approximately 14 days (dependent on the speed of the court). Alternatively, it is possible to apply for an Interim Possession Order against the squatters, subject to compliance with certain conditions. This can be applied for at the same time as the Possession Order.
For more information on how this procedure can be used to obtain possession of your property, please feel free to contact our legal enforcement team who will be happy to go through the procedure, the costs and time periods involved in obtaining a Possession Order using this method.