Squatting is when a person enters property without any sort of permission and actually lives there or plans to live there in the near future. This is quite common in England, and the laws are without a doubt very strict regarding this aspect. A situation like this is also called ‘’adverse possession’’.
As the UK law says, squatting in houses or flats is illegal. If someone does that, must definitely bear the consequences, and that means up to six months of prison, a £5000 fine, or even both in some cases. Lots of individuals all over the UK have been in this situation and that’s why the law is so strict so that people stop doing that.
If a person enters a property with the permission of the landlord, then this is not considered squatting. For example, if you are renting a house or a flat and at some point, you fall behind with rent payments you are definitely not squatting if you still live there. Of course, you will need to talk to the landlord, explain the situation and set up a payment method which is advantageous for both, but you are certainly not breaking the law.
Squatting in Non-Residential Buildings
Non-residential buildings are those buildings that are not designed to be lived in. Being on a property like this is not considered a crime in England. The police actually take action if squatters commit crimes when they are in a non-residential building or intent to live there. Crimes may include damages caused when entering the property or when living there, stealing different things from the building, using utilities without any sort of permission, and also not leaving when the court tells you to do so.
Squatters’ Rights to Property
The UK law also says that a squatter who has lived for a determined period of time in a building can actually become the registered owner of that property without any permission from the owner. If you are in a situation like this then what you need to do is to get a legal advice from a solicitor in order to claim ownership. You can apply for this only if you can prove that you have occupied the house for 10 years continuously, or if you have acted as owner for the whole of that time. Furthermore, you can also claim ownership if you didn’t have the landlord’s permission, which means that the property was not rented to a squatter.
How to Remove Squatters
If you own a property and you have problems with squatters, then what you must do is to make a claim for possession. You should not remove them yourself using force, because you will actually commit a crime. A legal advice from a solicitor will certainly help you make the right choice. This claim of possession must be made only if it has been more than 30 days since you have found out about squatters. For this sort of problems, you can also contact your council for help.