Since September 2012 residential property owners have seen increased protection from squatters, whereby it is now a criminal offence for a squatter to occupy a property which is privately held. However, as may have been expected squatters have become wise to this and have sought out a loop hole in the laws and are now making a move into commercial property premises. Property lawyers therefore have seen a massive increase in case load around commercial property squatters, with some firms seeing an increase of 100% (according to the Financial Times).
Business owners are now becoming increasingly frustrated with the laws as many argue that their business premises is still private property and should be subject to the same rules. Squatting on commercial property is still a civil offence but other than using sheer force property owners need to issue court proceedings in order to evict any unwanted guests. The police can do nothing.
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Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with commercial property Solicitors in Grantham and across the country.