You have a squatter in your commercial premises, what do you do?
If you are in the unfortunate position to have squatters residing within your commercial premises, without permission, you may apply to the Court for an interim possession order (“IPO”). An IPO is a mechanism used to remove squatters more quickly than in conventional possession proceedings. Should the Court make such an Order, those squatting must leave the premises within 24 hours of being served with it.
When can you apply for an interim possession order?
The key to dealing with this problem is to act quickly. You should apply for an IPO as soon as possible after you find that your premises is being occupied by squatters.
Requirements for an interim possession order:
There are a number of requirements that must be met in order for you to apply for an IPO. Note that you cannot apply for an IPO in respect of open land. The claim must also be made within 28 days from the date in which you first knew that your premises were being occupied without your consent.
What happens if you don’t know the names of the squatters?
As you will often not be aware of the names of the squatters, this does not prohibit you from making your application for an IPO. Your application will simply list the defendants as “Person(s) Unknown”.
Procedure (from issue to enforcement):
We will prepare the papers to issue at court. The Court will then fix a date for the hearing of the application for an IPO for a date as soon as practicable, but not less than three days after issue.
At the hearing, the Judge will decide whether the conditions to grant an IPO are met. If they have, the IPO will be drawn up. Once served with the IPO, the squatters must vacate the premises within 24 hours.
The IPO will note the date of the final hearing, which will also be the date the IPO expires. The final hearing may not go ahead if the squatters have left the premises. However, if they have failed to vacate, the final hearing will go ahead. At this hearing, the judge may make a final possession order.
The final possession order can then be enforced by requesting the Court to issue a warrant of possession. We will have enforcement agents on standby to attend the premises on your behalf in order to remove the squatters.
It is important to note that these proceedings are expensive and due to the nature and circumstances of the defendants, it is unlikely that you will get any money back. For this reason, prevention is better than cure. It is of paramount importance that you secure your premises to help avoid this situation occurring.
We have a team who are experienced with these types of cases and can act diligently and expeditiously in order to achieve the result you are looking for. If you would like to discuss the above with our litigation team, please do get in touch.