A new guide has been published by the Department of Communities and Local Government aiming to inform householders and help them deal with squatters. It is called Advice on Dealing with Squatters in your Home and can be downloaded from the CLG website.
It is only short, ten pages, and is a bit vague on detail. However it is fairly helpful. Basically it says:
- If you are a ‘displaced residential occupier’ you have rights – you can break in if you want to, or the Police should help you
- Squatters cannot obtain ownership of your home unless they stay there for at least 10 years (unlikely if it really is your home, that you would leave it that long), and even then you can object
- Tenants who won’t leave are not squatters and need to be evicted through the courts
- If you want to get rid of squatters you can use the interim possession procedure
A few comments:
- Hopefully the Police are slightly better at dealing with squatters than they are with illegal eviction, and won’t just say ‘its a civil matter’ and walk away
- If you let squatters stay in your home for ten years, you deserve to lose it to them! Its not hard to evict them
- I have never really seen the advantage of the interim possession order procedure for most situations – why give an undertaking to the squatters, and have two hearings, when you can have one hearing and not have to give an undertaking to them? You can usually get them out within about three weeks under the normal procedure. A District Judge once told me that the interim possession order procedure is hardly ever used – whats your experience?
- If you are afflicted with squatters you can always use my squatters kit to get a court order.
I have often been rung up by the press in the past and asked what my view is about the all pervading problem of squatters, but I have to say that I have rarely been contacted about it by land owners. My feeling therefore is that it is not as prevalent as people sometimes make out.
Whats your experience?