Removing Trespassers from Land and Buildings in under 3 working days
Our Property Litigation team have recently deployed a High Court procedure for the accelerated removal of squatters from one of our client’s vacant office buildings in Essex; it took just under 3 working days from initial instruction to recovery of the premises.
A 5 storey office building (in the ownership of our client, one of the UK’s largest property investment companies) had been vacant for some time and was unoccupied, pending the completion of a sale. Even though daily security patrols had been deployed to prevent squatters, the occupants, a number of males, with two Staffordshire terriers, managed to break into and enter the property. When the entry was discovered the ‘professional’ squatters had posted signs to the building claiming it to be their home, thus preventing forcible removal. It could be seen from the outside of the building that fire entries and windows had been barricaded, so hindering entry by emergency crews in the event of a fire or other emergency.
To add to the client’s concerns, the building housed a telecommunications mast and access to the communications room by unauthorised persons carried serious harm to radiation exposure. Had the mast been disabled there were concerns about the ability to use mobile phones in the locality as well as the ability for the public to summon the emergency services. To compound our client’s concerns security staff had seen others arriving at the building with suitcases and were told “this is our home!”
Instructions were received at 4pm on Thursday afternoon, and by Friday all necessary papers had been drafted including a note explaining why the matter should be heard in the High Court (as opposed to the local county court who were contacted and said that there would be a delay of two weeks before the matter could be heard). On Monday morning permission to issue proceedings in the High Court was sought and obtained on an urgent basis on condition that the papers were served on the trespassers by 4pm that day. The papers were duly served. On Tuesday the application for an order for possession was heard and an order for possession made. On arrival at the site to enforce the order the squatters (being on notice of the hearing) had all vacated by 3pm.
Working in collaboration with High Court Enforcement Officer, Jonathan Chatfield of Burlington Group the matter was timely and successfully concluded within 3 working days.
Our highly experienced and efficient Property Litigation team works with building owners across England and Wales, so that when trespassers arrive there is a robust recovery plan which can rapidly swing into action. Our client commented afterwards: “I have been super impressed with how you and Burlington have dealt with this issue as has everyone at [our company]. A job really well done.”
Please note – Image used is of unrelated premises