As a landowner, you may be worried about the possibility of gypsies and travellers eyeing your land to squat on. If travellers set up their encampment on private land, it is the responsibility of the owner to remove them, as the council only gets involved when they are camped on council-owned land. With this in mind, you may wonder, how do travellers find land to squat on in the first place?
Word of mouth is usually the best way for travellers to find land where they can set up camp and claim squatter’s rights. They may hear about land that’s unsecured in an area they are interested in, or may find out about specific pieces of land that other travellers used for squatting and they were eventually removed from.
How do I reclaim possession of my land from travellers?
Some landowners who don’t use the land actively may be happy to let small groups of travellers camp there and establish community relations. However, if you want them removed, you will need to seek possession of the land in question in the civil courts. The two main ways to evict trespassers from your land is via common law or writ of possession.
The process may take weeks to months, and it may involve the services of a solicitor and those of an enforcement agency. Sometimes, simply asking the trespassers to leave works, but we would always advise instructing enforcement officers to do this as they will have more experience dealing with travellers (who may get violent), and could even have evicted the same group before. You should be prepared to issue and serve a court summons, especially when dealing with experienced groups of travellers who are aware of the eviction process.
Evicting travellers under Common Law
To evict travellers from your land under the common law, you will generally need to employ the services of certificated enforcement officers. In this situation, the travellers will be served eviction notice as soon as possible, and they will be given 24 hours to vacate the site. If the travellers haven’t left after the 24 hours pass, the team will remove them, with help from the police if necessary.
Evicting travellers under a writ of possession
The other route you can take to remove trespassers from your land is obtaining a writ of possession. This can be enforced even if you don’t know the names of the squatters, as it can be made to “persons unknown.” Once you have a writ of possession from the court, you can employ the services of High Court Enforcement Officers to execute it as soon as possible.
No matter how you want to deal with traveller evictions from your land, we at Able Investigations are ready to help. We can help you with advice and course of action, so that you can regain possession of your land as quickly as possible. Give us a call on 0845 370 7401 or fill out our contact form for more information.