Trespassers and Squatters

Trespassing is when someone enters a property without the necessary permission. Trespass can take different forms such as:

  • Leaving unwanted property on someone else’s land;
  • Encroaching on a neighbour’s land in a boundary dispute;
  • Squatting when someone enters private property without permission in order to live there.

Squatting gives property owners cause for concern. Unwanted occupants constitute a nuisance and may inflict damage on the building. If they settle for over 10 years, they may take control of the land and even apply for ownership through adverse possession.

Can you remove squatters by force?

It is a criminal offence to use, or threaten to use, violence to gain entry to a property. The safest approach is to obtain a court order to remove squatters.

How do I remove squatters from my property?

There are two routes to recovering possession:

  1. A claim for possession of property

    The possession proceedings procedure must be used to remove squatters. Although there is a specific trespasser procedure, it is the same process used to evict a tenant.

    Following a hearing, the court will make an order for possession requiring the squatters to vacate the property by a specified date.

    If the squatters refuse to do so, the property owner will need to apply for either:

    • A warrant for possession to instruct bailiffs to evict the squatters; or
    • A writ for possession to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers to evict the squatters (this may result in a quicker eviction).

    If used alone (without the IPO), this procedure allows for a claim for damages to be made against the squatters.

  2. An interim possession order (IPO);

    In combination with an application for possession, a property owner can apply for an IPO. This provides a specific procedure to quickly remove squatters.

    An application for an IPO can be made if the property owner takes action within 28 days of finding out about the squatters.

    If successful, the IPO will usually be granted within a few days. After being served with an IPO, the squatters must leave the property within 24 hours. If they fail to do so, they can be arrested.

    Although the IPO provides for a speedier route, it does not allow for a property owner to make a claim for damages against the squatters.

    It is important you act fast and evict squatters as a matter of urgency. We can assist with the IPO, the claim for possession and/or damages, as well as providing expert legal advice about your rights and restrictions in your particular case.

Can I prevent someone from trespassing?

If there is a threatened trespass, it may be possible to seek a quiet timet injunction to prevent the trespass entirely.

A property owner can rely on evidence of a threat, by way of an example, as any of the following

  • Intimidation or an aggressive atmosphere towards the property owner or others;
  • A risk of the trespassers being willing to break criminal law;
  • A need to keep the trespassers away from parts of the property for their own safety.

Evidence in support of an application might include, for example, video evidence and social media posts and activity.

We can help you obtain a quiet timet injunction to prevent a trespass from happening.

We’re with you, every step of the way.

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Mustafa Kalaycı
Mustafa Kalaycı
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I used Naylor Solicitors to help us purchase our freehold. It wasn't as straightforward as we'd hoped as the previous freeholder and his solicitors were difficult to deal with (not responding to calls or emails etc,) which delayed things. At one point the freeholder threatened to pull out of the sale despite previously agreeing. Our solicitor Adam was swift in his response, reminding the other side that we had a verbal agreement and that they were risking us taking legal action in that regard. He was then able to make sure the sale went through as agreed. I highly recommend Naylor Solicitors.
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Frazer A-F
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claire bryant
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From start to end our experience of Naylor solicitors and Dominkia in particular, was faultless. They are a very professional firm. Dominika was incredibly knowledgeable in this specialist area we sought advice in (ROL), listened and acted upon our wishes, but also was very helpful in guiding us in taking the right course of action. Communication was always timely without any delay and she always made the time to explain matters that we needed extra clarification over. I highly recommend.