The repeated occurrence of “squatting” on vacant commercial land or in commercial premises is becoming an increasing concern for commercial landlords. If you are in possession of a commercial building, it is imperative that the building is monitored frequently to prevent squatters taking occupation. It only takes a number of hours for squatters to enter the land, and far longer to remove them, which also costs considerable sums of money causing inconvenience to the landlords. More often than not, the costs are not recoverable from the squatters who have no means to pay. Being aware and alert to minimise the risk is therefore essential.
Removal of squatters
Empty commercial buildings are extremely vulnerable to squatting, and the removal process can be lengthy and expensive. That said, it is possible to remove squatters from the premises and within a reasonable period of time.
Court proceedings against squatters
Court proceedings are necessary, as you can not forcibly use threats or violence to remove squatters. As soon as you discover the squatters, you should seek urgent legal advice. You may be able to apply to the Court to obtain an urgent “interim” possession order to evict the squatters. It is important to act with urgency because there are time constraints involved.
A hearing can take place within a week of the claim being submitted for possession, and then a bailiff is entitled to attend the premises pursuant to court order to evict the squatters.
The ideal situation is to carry out the above as soon as possible to minimise damage to the building. The preferred route is therefore to apply for the Interim Possession Order but this can only be applied for within 28 days from when the landlord was first made aware of the squatters and in certain circumstances.
Why choose Edwards Duthie Shamash?
Edward Duthie Shamash have a team of property and property litigation specialists that are able to advise you on the remedies available to you to minimise damage to the commercial premises and take possession / remove the squatters.