Squatters Law and How it Could Impact Your Empty Property

Squatters are individuals who move into and occupy a property without the owner’s permission. In the UK, squatting is a criminal offence if the squatter refuses to leave when asked by the owner or the police.

However, there is also a concept known as “squatters’ rights” or “adverse possession” in UK law. Under certain circumstances, a squatter can claim legal ownership of a property they have occupied for a certain period of time. This is known as adverse possession, and it is governed by the Land Registration Act 2002.

In the United Kingdom, a “squatter” is someone who inhabits a vacant or abandoned property without the permission of the owner. A property owner in the United Kingdom has the legal authority to evict squatters from their property. However, removing squatters may be a complicated and time-consuming operation, especially if the squatters have been in occupancy for a long time.

One crucial component of UK squatters law is that the property owner must first get a court order before evicting the squatters. This implies that the owner cannot simply order the squatters to vacate the property without first pursuing legal action.

Squatters Law & Adverse Possession

The UK squatters law offers some protection to squatters who have occupied a property for a set amount of time. If the squatters can prove that they have lived in the property for a set period of time and have made changes, they may be allowed to claim legal possession of the land.

Squatting in a residential home has been illegal in England and Wales since 2012, with penalties ranging from imprisonment to hefty fines. Squatting in a business property, on the other hand, is still allowed if certain requirements are met.

To claim adverse possession, a squatter must occupy a property continuously and openly for at least 12 years. During this time, they must use the property as if it were their own without the owner’s permission. If the squatter can prove they have met these requirements, they can apply to the Land Registry to be registered as the property’s owner.

If you own an empty property, it is important to be aware of the risk of squatting and adverse possession. Squatters may target empty properties because they are easier to occupy without detection. If a squatter successfully claims adverse possession of your property, you could lose legal ownership of it. To reduce the risk of squatting and adverse possession, it is important to ensure your property is secure and regularly monitored. 


Protecting Your Empty Property

When a property is left abandoned and unused for a long duration, it might become a target for squatters who may enter and occupy the property illegally. This might cause property damage and make regaining possession difficult.

Property Guardianship is one method of protecting vacant property against squatters. Property Guardianship is a program in which working professionals apply to reside in vacant properties and provide safety while avoiding the risk of squatters. Property Guardians are allowed temporary authorization to stay in the property in exchange for managing and securing vacant homes.

The presence of a live-in Guardian can function as a deterrent to squatters; therefore, property Guardianship can be an effective approach to safeguard an empty home from squatters. Moreover, property Guardians are accountable for keeping the property in good condition and reporting any maintenance issues to the Guardianship provider, which can aid in the prevention of damage and the reduction of repair expenses.

The property owner should contact a reputable property Guardianship company to set up a property Guardianship scheme. The company will then evaluate the property and select the best local professionals to serve as Guardians.

It is essential to choose an experienced Guardianship company like Global Guardians that has a successful track record of securing empty properties. Keeping the squatters at bay and helping you make the most of your unoccupied building, property Guardianship has many benefits to offer. 

We at Global Guardians can help secure your empty property at zero cost and ensure that your building is kept in good condition. Speak with our dedicated teams today and learn more.

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