One of the nightmares for our clients is the risk of squatters taking over an empty house. There is then the risk of damage to the property and the likelihood of a bill for the legal costs of removing them.

Prevention is much better than cure so it pays to keep a careful eye on your property. If you live a long way away perhaps someone local can check it for you?

If you discover that squatters have moved in you must not use force or threats of violence to remove them and you must not damage their goods. If they will not leave peacefully you should apply to the local county court for an Interim Possession Order. This is a speedy process and requires them to leave within 24 hours or they will be committing a criminal offence. Remember to act fast; you may lose your right to the order if you delay.

The interim order will remain in force pending a full hearing of the possession application. Most unoccupied property insurance clients will choose to have a specialist solicitor to act for them.