What is a peaceful possession procedure?

Peaceful possession is the first step an enforcement agent will attempt when dealing with squatters who have entered a commercial property. It involves trying to gain access and control of the property without force or being accosted by the squatters.

The process begins when the commercial property owner discovers squatters occupying their premises unlawfully. At this point, they should contact a certified enforcement agent to assist with the eviction process.

Seeking Peaceful Compliance

The enforcement agent will first attempt peaceful possession by attending the property, often without prior warning to the squatters. Upon entering the premises, the agent will identify themselves and explain that the squatters are trespassing on private commercial property.

The enforcement agent will request that the squatters leave immediately and voluntarily whilst informing them they are committing a civil offence. Ideally, the squatters comply without resistance, allowing the agent to secure the property and change the locks to prevent re-entry. This constitutes gaining peaceful possession without requiring police assistance or force.


Consequences of Successful Peaceful Possession

If peaceful possession succeeds, the commercial property is legally recovered within 24 hours without needing to go through lengthier legal procedures. However, the agent cannot use more than reasonable force against uncooperative squatters at this stage. Reasonable force may involve strong verbal commands or blocking entry/exit points but not physical contact.

Failure to Achieve Peaceful Possession

Should the squatters refuse to leave voluntarily or become hostile, peaceful possession cannot be achieved. At this point, the enforcement agent’s role is complete, and the commercial property owner must pursue an interim possession order (IPO) through the county court.

Obtaining a Court Eviction Order

An IPO is a civil court order granted to property owners that requires squatters occupying their premises to vacate within 24 hours of the order being served. To obtain an IPO, the owner must convince the court they are the legal owner, the defendants are trespassers with no legal right to occupy, and there is a good reason to shorten the typical eviction process.

legal writing

Serving Notice on the Squatters

Once issued by the court, the IPO must be served on the squatters, usually by enforcement agents instructed by the owner’s legal team. This means formally delivering copies of the order and explaining they must leave the premises within 24 hours or further enforcement action can be taken.

Enforcing the Court Order

After 24 hours have passed from serving the order, enforcement agents can return to the property and use reasonable force if necessary to evict the squatters for failing to comply with an IPO. They may involve police assistance at this stage too. Any squatters remaining past the deadline specified can then be physically removed from the property without consent, allowing the owner to regain legal possession.

enforcement agents

Securing the Property

The enforcement agent will again change access controls to secure the site against reoccupation once evacuated. From here, the commercial property owner must ensure any damage caused by the squatters is repaired and make a record of events should they wish to pursue civil action to recover costs and losses.

Able Investigations’ Eviction Services

If you own a commercial property and have recently discovered that it has been occupied by squatters, Able Investigations can help you legally evict them. Our certificated enforcement officers are experienced in helping commercial property owners regain possession of their land and operate throughout the United Kingdom.

For more information about how Able Investigations can help, or to instruct us to begin eviction procedure to remove commercial squatters from your premises, please speak to a member of our professional team by calling 0345 366 0000.

Comments are closed.