How To Prevent Squatters
Posted on December 26, 2021.
If you have an empty property, chances are you’ve thought long and hard about the security solutions you can employ to ensure your property doesn’t get broken into or vandalised. Owning a void property can be a source of stress for many people, whether you have one empty building or a number of them, security is one of the most difficult and expensive things to contend with.
There are a variety of options out there, ranging from security screens to complicated CCTV programmes that can cost a lot to install. For some, this is a viable solution. If you can afford security guards and CCTV systems then it’s a good option to avoid squatters, but doesn’t solve the problem of unnecessary stress.
Having your property taken over by squatters is an unwanted scenario for any property owner. Squatters can turn a property into an unliveable space very quickly. Often times they’ll cause damage, whether that’s smashing windows to gain access or destroying objects left inside, it can be a costly thing to clean up after. As well as that, squatters might have more rights than you’d expect.
Squatting in a residential building is illegal and can lead to a fine as well as time in prison. It’s a crime not to leave a property when requested by the owner, police, the council or a repossession order. If a squatter enters a non-residential property, it’s not a crime unless they cause property damage, use utilities or are told to leave by a court. However, current law states that squatters who have been living in a property for over ten years, whether that’s a succession of squatters or the same ones, can apply for a right to occupy. This only applies if they weren’t previous tenants. The owner can object to this within 65 days but if they don’t, legally the squatters can claim ownership.
Removing squatters who aren’t willing to leave can be a long and costly process so it’s better to try and avoid this by employing a security solution. The cost of an interim possession order can be £2500 and can take a long time.
If you’re trying to avoid dealing with squatters, here are some more practical tips and solutions from a company whose focus is and always has been securing void properties.
1. Regularly visit the property to make it look lived in. This includes removing mail, opening and closing curtains, installing timers on light switches and perhaps finding a way to emit sound like a TV or radio at some points during the day. These are all signs a property is lived in and will deter squatters.
2. Bar the windows and remove access to electricity and water supplies. This will mean any squatters that come across the place will not have basic amenities and are more likely to move on. By barring the windows, it makes it more difficult to gain access as even smashing them will not allow anyone to enter. This is one of the simplest solutions but isn’t fool proof.
3. If you don’t have time to regularly visit the property or it’s too big for this to be the solution, the next step to take is ensuring everything is secure. Just locking doors won’t deter squatters. You’ll need to fit strong doors and locks then consider whether you need to install steel window covers to add an extra layer of security.
4. Buy cameras that you can watch from your phone. There are certain brands that can be purchased at a relatively low price point and installed within the property. Many of these are motion activated and will send notifications straight to you so if there are any intruders, you can act fast.
5. Of course, being a Guardian company, we think the best solution to this problem is to have Guardians living in the property. The Guardians can take care of everything whilst you’re away. This is a solution applicable to both large buildings and smaller ones. Global Guardians will do all of the work to make the property liveable and have a completely transparent system called My Globe where you can keep an eye on the property with monthly inspections and an inclusive ticketing system that allows you to see when any problem arises. We then deal with any issues in order to ensure the security of the property is guaranteed.
We’re always on the lookout for new security solutions to offer to our clients but most of these come at a cost higher than our Guardians. If you’re looking for something stress free and secure, give us a call on 0203 818 9100.