Trespass on commercial property is not a criminal offence – even though trespass on residential property was made illegal under Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
Trespass is often a risk for landlords when commercial properties are left untenanted – and it is advisable to take expert legal advice as soon as a situation involving trespass on a commercial property occurs, as it may take time to go through court procedures to evict squatters.
Trespass may also involve leasehold tenants who have not left a property after a landlord has obtained a possession order – and in such cases a commercial landlord may have to go back to court for possession of the premises.
If squatters move into a commercial property, it is necessary to apply for a possession order to evict them.
Applying to the court for a possession order involves preparing particulars of claim to be submitted as part of the application.
It may take several weeks for a hearing to be scheduled by the courts in cases involving possession – but it is vital to follow court procedures for evicting squatters from a commercial building.
Using threats or force to evict trespassers or squatters is illegal and a landlord who takes matters into their own hands may incur criminal liability under the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Another option for evicting trespassers may be an interim possession order, however.
Duncan Lewis can advise commercial property owners on applying to the court for an interim possession order, which could require the trespassers or squatters to vacate the premises within a set period, such as within 24 hours.
There are time limits applicable to applying for and serving possession orders on trespassers – application for interim possession orders have to be made within 28 days of trespass on commercial premises becoming evident to a freeholder.
It is also necessary to prove that an applicant for an interim possession order would have been entitled to immediate possession of the property from the time the trespassers entered illegally.
Duncan Lewis advises commercial property owners to contact them as soon as possible in cases of trespass on a commercial property, so that swift action can be taken to protect their interests and property.
In cases where a tenant has failed to vacate commercial premises after a lease has ended, a commercial landlord may be able to claim damages.
Duncan Lewis will advise further on damages for trespass once a case has been assessed.
Duncan Lewis has a successful commercial property and property litigation department able to advise on all commercial property matters, including trespass and evicting squatters.
Duncan Lewis is usually able to offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) or a set fee for commercial property cases – and also offers a set fee for the initial assessment of a case, so our clients know exactly what they will be paying.
For expert legal advice on dealing with Trespassers on Commercial Premises, call Duncan Lewis Commercial Property Solicitors on 020 7923 4020.