Possession Claim Against Trespassers

Possession Claim Against TrespassersTrespassers, commonly known as ‘squatters’, can be a land or property owner’s worst nightmare. They can cause damage, pose a significant security risk, and may inhibit your ability to use your land or property. Our land disputes solicitors have extensive experience in assisting land and property owners facing issues with trespassers. They understand the need for quick, decisive action and will ensure your matter is dealt with swiftly and efficiently, allowing you to regain control of your land as quickly as possible.

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When Can You Bring A Possession Claim Against Trespassers?

You can only bring a possession claim against a trespasser if they entered the property without your permission. You cannot use a possession claim against a tenant who refuses to leave the property at the end of their tenancy. Different procedures apply in those cases; our land disputes team will talk you through the process and ensure you do all that is needed to ensure the swift removal of your ex-tenant.

How Do You Bring A Possession Claim Against Trespassers?

The law recognises the often urgent need to remove trespassers promptly. Accordingly, the procedure is designed to be straightforward and user-friendly. Having said that, the process is governed by strict rules and timetables, and failing to follow them can prove extremely detrimental to your claim. Accordingly, most land and property owners instruct expert land disputes solicitors, like ours, to help them to take back control of their land.

A general overview of the process is as follows:

  • You begin by applying for a possession order. You must make your application in the County Court covering the district where the property or land in question is located. Rarely, the claim may be issued in the High Court, but only when specific circumstances exist. Those circumstances might be that the facts are particularly complex, or the case involves legal issues of general importance.
  • Your application must include several legal documents, including your ‘particulars of claim’, which detail the facts of your case and any witness statements you wish to rely on. You must also carefully describe the land you require possession of. Any flaws in your description may be fatal to your claim. At the very least, your application will likely be delayed.
  • Once your claim has been issued, the Court will set a hearing date.
  • You must then serve the claim on the trespassers. You should serve the documents by posting them through the letter box, or, where that isn’t an option, attaching them to the door or other visible spot on the land. Alternatively, you can place the documents on stakes dotted around the land with the documents clearly attached.
  • If the property being occupied is residential, you must serve the documents not less than 5 days before the hearing. In the case of other land, such as commercial premises or a car park, you must serve the documents not less than 2 days before the hearing.
  • If the trespasser wishes to defend your claim, they must do so within 14 days. Few do so, but those that do may raise arguments such as you do not own the property, or they are not trespassing, for example because they are a tenant.
  • At the hearing, the Judge will decide whether the trespasser’s occupation is unlawful. In the absence of a defence, they are likely to grant a possession order. The order will specify the date by which the trespassers must vacate the property or land.

How Do You Enforce A Possession Order Obtained In A Possession Claim Against Trespassers?

Often, serving the possession order on the trespassers is enough to persuade them to leave your property by the date specified by the Court. However, if they refuse to vacate, you can obtain a Warrant of Possession permitting you to instruct bailiffs to remove the trespassers. In some cases, transferring the matter to the High Court might be appropriate so High Court Enforcement Officers can enforce the Order.

How Do You Bring A Possession Claim Against Trespassers If You Do Not Know Their Identity?

Often, the land or property owner does not know the identity of the trespassers. In these cases, you will follow the process described above, bringing your claim against ‘persons unknown’.

How We Can Help With Possession Claims Against Trespassers

Our land disputes solicitors have assisted countless clients in evicting squatters from their land and property and understand the delicate and urgent nature of possession claims against trespassers. They give swift, straightforward advice aimed at obtaining and executing a possession order as quickly as possible to stem the ongoing financial losses and reputational damage the trespassers’ presence can cause.

Please call us now on 01603 672222 for a no-obligation conversation today or Click Here To Make An Online Enquiry.

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