Law Firm Evicting Squatters From Commercial Property
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Christopher Bartlett is a commercial property solicitor. His experience of commercial property means he knows how to repossess properties quickly and understands the pressures faced by commercial property landlords.
Is It A Criminal Offence For Squatters To Enter A Commercial Property?
No. Since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came into full force on September 1st 2012, residential squatting has become a criminal offence, meaning that squatters may be arrested and punished by a substantial fine and / or prison sentence. The new law does not however apply to commercial properties, meaning that squatting at such premises remains a civil offence. Does a landlord need to obtain a court order to evict squatters from commercial property? Yes, and this has created a clear incentive for squatters to seek out commercial properties in preference to the risk of getting arrested for occupying a residential property.
What Are Landlords' Rights Regarding Commercial Property Squatters?
Many commentators judge that the change in the law has failed to protect commercial landlords and business owners from squatters at a critical time, when it is estimated that almost 50,000 retail premises are vacant on UK high streets, and the commercial property market overall continues to suffer from the ongoing effects of recession. A widely reported rise in squatting at commercial properties since LASPO came into effect is now forcing more and more landlords to pursue what are often expensive and complex civil procedures against squatters. As a result, there are growing calls for the Act to be extended to cover commercial properties without further delay.
Do I Need A Solicitor To Evict Squatters From Commercial Properties?
Apart from shops, office blocks, pubs and warehouses are popular targets for squatters, many of whom are well aware of their legal rights, even to the extent that they will inhabit only the section of a mixed-use property which is used for commercial purposes, to ensure that they comply with the new legislation. An example of this would be a group of squatters occupying the ground floor of a pub, but not using the upstairs living quarters, as this would be classified as residential use accommodation. In this way squatters can avoid committing a criminal act under the terms of LASPO, and consequently, evicting them from the property will become that much harder for the landlord.
Solicitors Specialising In Evicting Squatters From Commercial Properties
Given the access that squatters enjoy to legal advice via the internet, it is important for commercial landlords to consult and use the services of a firm of solicitors with the expertise in this area to ensure a fast, cost-effective and permanent solution to a problem with squatters. Contact us today for free legal advice or to get started evicting squatters from your commercial property.
Chris Bartlett is a solicitor specialising in Commercial Property matters. He will be happy to offer you a free telephone or face to face consultation.
James Edwards is a commercial property solicitor advising landlords and tenants on commercial leases. He also has experience in buying and selling commercial property.