Squatters in Commercial Property: To IPO or not to IPO

Squatters in Commercial Property: To IPO or not to IPO

As Christmas has been and gone, and the peak of squatters appearing in commercial property fades away with the festive memories, we thought it useful to recap on the advantages and disadvantages of using the interim possession order (IPO) route to recover possession or expediting standard possession proceedings.

Over the Christmas period, we were instructed to recover possession of commercial property that had been occupied by squatters. The two routes to possession are briefly outlined below:

IPO

  • Proceedings can be issued and possession order granted as an interim measure. Full hearing listed for a return date within seven days (and not less than three days after the interim hearing)
  • Greater technical steps and undertakings required to be given to the court by the owner
  • Possession recovered in approximately 7-10 days.

Possession Order

  • Proceedings can be issued for possession against trespassers with a simultaneous application to expedite proceedings and request a hearing on the court’s urgent matter list within 48 hours of service on squatters
  • At the return hearing, a forthwith possession order can be granted and transferred to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement officer
  • Possession recovered in approximately 5-7 days (if well co-ordinated).

The options compared

IPO Possession proceedings
Relatively expensive Relatively cheaper than IPO
Enforcement by police if squatters have not vacated within 24 hours of IPO Enforcement by high court enforcement officers once possession order obtained
Against commercial property only Available against mixed use property
7-10 days 5-7 days

Summary

It is important to seek experienced legal advice if you have squatters in your property. The process needs to be well managed and dealt with by someone with knowledge of the process and the ability to co-ordinate the required team.

The process can be managed so that squatters are out within 72 hours, if dealt with efficiently. In our experience, the IPO route and the additional costs of that do not justify it as the most cost effective route. We have found that as the entire process can be completed within a working week for the non-IPO route, it is more advantageous and cost saving to pursue the expedited possession proceedings.

If you wish to speak to Edd Thompson regarding any of the matters highlighted in the article, or for any other issues related to a property dispute please contact him on edt@blasermills.co.uk or give Edd a call on 01494 478676  or 07412 028202.