News

Direct Repossession and its Dangers: A warning to property owners and Landlords

Liam O’Shea, Director at Astle Paterson sets out the dangers of seeking to obtain possession of a residential property from a tenant, licencee, trespasser or squatter.

It is a criminal offence for any property owner or Landlord to use or threaten violence to secure entry to a residential property if, at any time there is someone present at the property who does not consent; for example, if a Landlord forces entry by breaking a window or picking a lock then they may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Trespassers or Squatters

If you were resident in the property until being excluded by persons who entered the property without your permission then you may have defence – the use of force to regain one’s home after it has been seized by ‘squatters’ is not illegal.

The right of direct physical repossession is limited only to property owners who resided at the property immediately before they were excluded against their will by trespassers or squatters.  It is crucial that any repossession takes place during a temporary absence of the trespassers.

Even in the above situations, property owners may find themselves in difficulty.   Accusations, false or otherwise, can be made against them by the by trespasser or squatter – ultimately the allegations could be successfully defended by the property owner but by then a significant amount of time, money and energy could have been wasted.

Tenants or Licencees

Court proceedings are always required to remove residential tenants and licensees who do not give up possession voluntarily.

Should a property owner wrongfully evict a residential tenant or licensee without a Court Order or, without the consent of the residential tenant or licensee, this may constitute an ‘illegal eviction’ and criminal prosecution (the usual punishment being a fine (or prison for persistent offenders) and civil proceedings for compensation against the property owner would normally follow.

Before undertaking any attempts to remove an occupier of your property you should seek the advice of a Solicitor with experience in the law of Landlord & Tenant. 

At Astle Paterson (Solicitors in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) our Litigation Department has the necessary knowledge and experience to help property owners and Landlords through the potential difficulties of regaining possession of their property.

Please contact Liam O’Shea of Astle Paterson’s Dispute Resolution & Litigation Department on 01283 531366 or by way of email at loshea@astlepaterson.co.uk

Back to News

More News from Liam

Tenant Fees Act 2019 – What are the changes?

To help landlords understand the implications of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, we’ve summarised the key changes that it brings, ...

Read More
Section 21 changes – The end of no-fault evictions?

Many landlords are in need of sound legal advice following the recently proposed section 21 changes; read our brief and ...

Read More
How to serve a valid section 21 notice on your tenant

Table of Contents What is a Section 21 Notice?When can I serve a Section 21 notice to Quit?Ensure the tenants ...

Read More
Video: Landlord & tenant law, your commonly asked legal questions answered

Watch our video on landlord & tenant law. Our leading expert on landlord services is here to give advice on ...

Read More
Debt Recovery Advice: How long can a debt collector legally pursue old debt?

We often get asked, how long can a debt collector legally pursue old debt? It is a commonly held belief ...

Read More
Debt Recovery Advice: How to find information on your debtor

If an individual or Company owe you money, then what are the chances of you actually recovering that money? Even ...

Read More
Connect with Astle Paterson

Connect

Book an Appointment
Book an appointment
Burton on Trent Uttoxeter
Astle Paterson Accreditations

Business & Commercial   •   Conveyancing   •   Family   •   Litigation   •   Wills, Inheritance Tax & Probate   •   Employment