Evicting vulnerable tenant in hospital – Landlord Action response9:55 AM, 3rd July 2019
About 3 weeks ago 69
In 2012, a change in law made squatting in residential property a criminal offence. The inevitable consequence of this was an increase in the number of cases of squatting in commercial premises. Squatting has now become a real issue for commercial landlords and property managers, who need to make sure that they remove any squatters promptly and re-secure the property to prevent them from returning.
We were recently contacted by a landlord who leased his unit to a commercial tenant. After just 6 months, a change in circumstance meant the tenant decided to forfeit the lease and posted the keys back to the landlord. Between the time the keys were posted and the landlord went to check on the property, he discovered more than 10 squatters were inhabiting his unit. He asked them to leave but they tried to bribe the landlord. Not knowing how to handle the situation, like so many others, the landlord left them and hoped they would soon leave.
After a year of trying to get them to vacate, the landlord finally sought professional advice. He contacted Caridon Landlord Solutions. We immediately obtained an order for possession and then transferred the order up the High Court. We obtained a writ of possession which was then executed by High Court enforcement officers. Within 2 weeks, the squatters were gone!
We then put our landlord in contact with Umbrella Property Guardians, partners of Caridon Landlord Solutions. They offer security and protection service for vacant properties. They refurbished the entire unit for the landlord and now guard the property until the landlord decides what he wants to do with it next!
There are two different routes to recover possession from squatters. The options are either standard summary possession proceedings, as used above, or an application for interim possession order (IPO), both of which involve at least one trip to court.
Both processes take time and involve the owner incurring costs, which it is highly unlikely to be able to recover from the squatters. In the meantime, there could well have been a significant impact on the owner’s business.
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