Travellers with Squatters Rights

Travellers with Squatters Rights

What are squatter’s rights?

In fact there are no squatters rights, it is a myth!

LASPO The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 made squatting a criminal offence if the squatter is in a residential property as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser. LASPO clearly defined what constituted residential. That left the obvious target of commercial property without the protection of that act.

Therefore if squatters occupy a commercial property they can only be evicted if the landlord either gets court order or they are able to gain peaceable possession.

Trespassers - illegal use of site note in plastic sleeve

The thing people claim to be Squatter’s rights as such come out of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which says:


6.-(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, any violence for a person who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens violence securing entry for the purpose of securing entry into any premises for himself or for any other person is guilty of an offence, provided that:
(a) there is someone present on those premises at the time who is opposed to the entry which the violence is intended to secure; and
(b) the person using or threatening the violence knows that that is the case.

(2) The fact that a person has any interest in or right to possession or occupation of any premises shall not for the purposes of subsection (1) above constitute lawful authority for the use or threat of violence by him or anyone else for the purpose of securing his entry into those premises.

It also goes on to say:

“(4) It is immaterial for the purposes of this section-
(a) whether the violence in question is directed against the person or against property; and
(b) whether the entry which the violence is intended to secure is for the purpose of acquiring possession of the premises in question or for any other purpose.”

gypsy's on a car park with their caravans

In the last two month’s we have seen a large increase in travellers occupying land around industrial buildings and putting up section 6 notices or handing them to the bailiffs.

We have carried out a traveller eviction in Leeds and a traveller eviction in London where this tactic has been used in the last week alone. They claim they have been legally advised that this applies to their occupation and they cannot be evicted without a court order. The photo attached is a copy of a notice they handed to one of our bailiffs when we went to serve them with notice to leave.

We explained to them this does not apply to open land and they came back with this argument: that it does apply to open land where there are buildings because it is classed as premises under the definition of the act:

“12.-(1) In this Part of this Act- Supplementary (a) ” premises ” means any building, any part of a building provisions. under separate occupation, any land ancillary to a building, the site comprising any building or buildings together with any land ancillary thereto, and (for the purposes only of sections 10 and 11 above) any other place;”

We were aware of the reasons why their defence would not work and having checked by taking advice in each case, we proceeded to successfully evict them.

They had not been advised well and their legal argument was wanting in a number of facts. In some cases there are measures that they could take to make this ploy work and become a reality, however, obviously we do not tell them how to do that.

On each occasion the resistance was quite high to being moved and the Police had to be called.

They wanted us arrested but once the police were presented with a written, reasoned legal argument that what we were doing was quite legal, they fully supported our actions.

We also had video footage of events to keep everyone clear of any litigation.

Enforcement Bailiffs Ltd has over twenty-five years of experience in completing possession of property and land especially in the commercial sector. Should you wish to instruct us to assist with your enforcement details can be found here.

If you need a traveller eviction from your premises, don’t hesitate, ACT NOW!



Northern Office
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