Squatters and unauthorised occupants

The eviction of unauthorised occupants and squatters is important because if we tolerate them:

  • we lose revenue
  • bed and breakfast costs increase
  • tenants wait longer for transfers or to be rehoused

Often unauthorised occupants or squatters will wish to remain in the property. We only permit this in extremely rare instances.

Definition of squatting

A squatter is someone who occupies the property without permission from the owner, or his/her agent or the person legally entitled to be occupying it.

A squatter will usually have occupied the property after the termination of the tenancy.

Legal action against squatters

There are three ways of repossessing a property which has been squatted. These are by using:

  • the Protected Intending Occupier (PIO) procedure under the 1977 criminal Law Act
  • the County Court by way of Order 24
  • (and the tenant may also use) the Displaced Residential Occupier procedure under the 1977 Criminal Law Act

A Court Order issued by the County Court is required to repossess a property from squatters.
Once a ‘possession order’ is obtained a bailiff’s appointment will be requested and the squatters will be notified of the date of eviction.

If the squatter or occupant of the premises at any time makes representation or an application for rehousing, then they will be referred to the Options and Appraisals Team.

Unauthorised occupants

Unauthorised occupants are in the main ‘left behind’ in a tenancy following the departure of the tenant. The tenancy is still in existence although the tenant is no longer resident.

Unauthorised occupation covers a multitude of situations including unauthorised assignment / exchange, people staying on following death of tenant, residents who have no right to succeed, children remaining after the parents have moved.

A housing officer will visit the property and assess whether the occupant has a right to the tenancy and if necessary take actions through the courts to repossess the property.

If you need further advice on these matters or suspect that a property is squatted or illegally occupied, please contact your local area housing office.