You’ll probably have spotted in the news recently the story of the travellers in Basildon: after a ten year battle the local council seems like they may have a case to evict and finally remove the travellers from council land. The legal ins and outs of this case have got somewhat complicated, but it’s a staggering fact that the council have set aside £18m for the clearance of this land.
Of course, this case is at the extreme end of the spectrum and though few private landlords will ever encounter anything of this scale, it does go some way towards demonstrating how expensive legal proceedings against travellers or squatters can be.
Am I at Risk?
The risk is most prevalent in unoccupied properties; if you currently have tenants in your property squatters will normally not even think about moving in. The risk is also increased by leaving access points open; breaking a door to enter a property is currently illegal but squatting in a property where the door has been left open is something of a grey area. If your property is unoccupied you need to ensure it is secure.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Eviction of Squatters cover is a very good way of insuring against potential legal costs of removing squatters but preventative action is always better. Make sure you have basic security features in your property and make sure you don’t leave it unoccupied for long periods of time. Many squatters are extremely adapt at targeting properties and yours may become at risk after just a week or so. Keep visiting your property and make sure it is safe.
Squatters and travellers can be very difficult things for any landlord to deal with and you should always seek professional advice before proceeding legally. Make sure you know your rights to evict and make sure you keep your property secured and insured.