Trespassers, or ‘squatters’, can present a range of issues for a commercial land owner. Harrison Drury’s property litigation team explores the potential losses business owners could suffer and how to tackle the issue swiftly and effectively.
Trespassers can pitch up on land or in property without consent or notice.
They may cause damage to the property, leave a costly clean-up operation, or pose a security risk to anybody present.
However, should your commercial property become subject to unwanted trespassers, this could have an unlimited effect on your business due to inability to trade.
These types of disputes are notoriously difficult to deal with. The police can often be reluctant to get involved with trespass as it crosses over between both criminal and civil law.
We are frequently asked by clients who have been turned away by the police to deal with trespassers urgently.
How we helped remove trespassers from a business premises
One recent instruction involved the removal of a group of travellers who had broken through locked gates to park nine caravans and other vehicles at a large distribution centre.
The swift and effective action taken by our property litigation team resulted in the trespassers vacating the property within 24 hours of discovery. This enabled the client to continue with its business and eliminate any further loss of turnover, property damage, as well as maintaining the safety of its employees.
We were able to compel the trespassers to vacate quickly by taking decisive court action. Proceedings were issued the same day we received instructions together with an application to abridge time.
The matter was dealt with by the court the following day on an urgent basis and we were on site serving papers that afternoon. This action had the desired effect of persuading the travellers to leave of their own volition, but we had the possession order in place to instruct bailiffs to evict them if it had been necessary to do so.
The client said: “Harrison Drury were swift and effective throughout our instruction, they responded to our enquiry in the early hours of the morning and were in court later that day obtaining the necessary court order to remove the travellers from our distribution centre, keeping me informed throughout as the matter quickly progressed.
“Had it not been for the actions of Harrison Drury, we could have lost thousands in revenue, as we had a large amount of orders which needed to leave the warehouse the very next day.”
Acting swiftly to protect business interests
Our advice therefore is not to delay if you discover trespassers on you land, but to seek immediate legal advice so that swift action can be taken to recover the land and protect your business interests.
While you do have legal rights that can be enforced in this situation, there are a number of procedural steps that must be complied with before you can lawfully exercise those rights. Our expertise in this area will ensure a smooth and effective process that will result in the removal of trespassers from your property while also minimising the disruption to your business.