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Selling a Property with Squatters

Selling a Property with Squatters

If you’re a homeowner, you know squatters can be a nightmare. What makes things worse is
that the information around how to get rid of squatters and sell your property can be vague.
Though people may often confuse squatting and trespassing, these are two different things.
This guide from Gaffsy aims to put you right and help you to move ahead.

While trespassing may be seen as a legal offense, squatting means moving into an abandoned
or unused house. Thus, if you have squatters in your home and there’s no other legal offense,
your dispute may be treated as a civil issue, and getting the squatters to evict could be difficult.

Thankfully, there are ways to sell your property that has squatters. This article discusses some
of the top tips on how to sell your home even if you have squatters.

What Are Squatters Rights in the UK?

To begin with, squatting is an act of making use of an unused and abandoned property for free
accommodation at the expense of the property owner. Though squatting is technically illegal,
there are certain loopholes in the law related to tenants that may protect squatters somehow.

To claim rights over a property, one has to stay there for a minimum of 18 years. Therefore,
squatters may often refer to unwanted tenants that have occupied your property with the
intention of not moving out for a long time. In such cases, consider selling your home to cash house buyers like Gaffsy.

Gaffsy is the cheapest way to sell your property, avoiding costs such as agents’ fees, estate agents’ charges, solicitors’ fees,
clearance costs, utility charges, mortgage payments and cosmetic repair costs.

The main catch lies in the law that even the rightful property owner cannot remove the squatters
without prior order from the court. Luckily, in most cases, squatters are removed by order of the
court that sanctions the removal of squatters. But to deal with the squatters can be a hassle,
and you may need to know the laws well.

Difficulties in selling houses with Squatters

Can you force them out?
It depends whether your property is occupied or not. If it is a property that is occupied, or soon
to be occupied, then the criminal law will apply and the squatters can be guilty of an offence
under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Act if they fail to leave your premises after being asked to
do so. In this situation, the police can be involved and if necessary can arrest the squatters. You
will have to be able to prove to the police that you are a “displaced residential occupier” or
“protected intending occupier” of the property.

If you are in this position, your rights also supersede what are commonly known as “squatters’
rights”. Usually you cannot use force to evict squatters, but if you already live in the property, or
are about to (for example, you’ve bought the house and are about to move in) you are allowed
to break your own door down if necessary.

For other “non-occupied” properties or commercial premises, squatters’ rights apply so you can’t
use force to evict them. In such situations it is a civil matter and you will need to obtain a court
order to remove the squatters. Gaffsy are willing to purchase properties with
squatters present and deal with the civil case, get in touch for a free quote.

Selling Your House Even If You have Squatters

If you’re a homeowner trying to sell your house with squatters in it, these tips can help you.

Know The Laws
Squatting in residential buildings (like a house or flat) is illegal. It can lead to 6 months in prison,
a £5,000 fine or both.
Anyone who originally enters a property with the permission of the landlord is not a squatter. For
example, if you’re renting a property and fall behind with rent payments, you’re not squatting if
you continue to live there.
Although squatting in non-residential building or land is not in itself a crime, it’s a crime to
damage the property.
It’s usually a crime not to leave land or property when you’re instructed to do so by:

  • The owner
  • The police
  • The council
  • A repossession order

In rare cases, squatters may claim rights over the property. This is known as adverse
possession. According to the Land Registration Act 2002, what is required is “not an intention to
own or even an intention to acquire ownership but an intention to possess”. But for this to
happen, not only does the squatter have to be living in the property for many years continuously,
but they also have to meet several other conditions.

Inform The Authorities
A squatter is someone using your property without your permission. Thus, when you see your
vacant property occupied by squatters, immediately inform the local police as this act of using
someone’s property without permission can also be considered trespassing, which is a legal

Informing the authorities is one of the most critical steps that a landlord can take, as the police
can then have the squatters removed. When the police come to your property, make sure to
show them the legal documents that prove the house is yours.

Some of the squatters are professional, and removing them from your property can be a difficult
task. In such cases, the squatters often provide false legal documentation or take advantage of
tenancy laws to prove that they have been allowed to stay on the property.

In this situation, you may have to consider the eviction process that can be costly and time consuming. Some landlords may even make an offer of money to get the squatters to leave
their property. Speak to Gaffsy about how you can sell your property quickly and
avoiding costs such as agents’ fees, estate agents’ charges, solicitors’ fees, and clearance

How to remove squatters from your property

Begin The Eviction Process
If the police can’t get squatters to leave and they refuse to co-operate, it may be the right time to
begin the legal eviction process. There are different eviction laws in different parts of the UK, but
most often, the process starts with issuing a legal notice indicating that the squatters should
vacate your property.

Luckily, an eviction notice may scare the squatters away, and they may evict your property.
However, if a legal notice doesn’t work, the squatters will be given a notice of specific days to
evict the property.
If the squatters are former tenants and you have served a Section 21 eviction notice, the next
step is to contact the courts to organise an eviction by bailiffs.

Clean Up And Sell
After the squatters have been removed, you may want to take a good look at your property and
check for the damage done. Chances are, out of spite, the squatters may have caused further
damage to your property. Still, selling your property to Gaffsy means that you
can dispose of the property quickly and not have any clearance costs.

Start the process by deep cleaning your home and check with the authorities if you can throw
away any belongings left behind or if there are any legal proceedings you may have to follow.
If there are any severe property damages, consider repairing them before you put your house
on sale. Since everyone wants a house in ideal condition, fixing the home is essential to get a
reasonable rate.

However, after dealing with squatters and bearing expensive legal and repair costs, you may
want to sell the house as-is instead of renovating it. Consider selling your home to a cash buyer
or a real estate investor who can buy it from you and take care of it before they put it up in the
market again. With, you can get your house valuation quickly, and
complete on your house sale fast with no fees.

If you’re a homeowner with squatters in your home, know that it may not be an easy road ahead
before putting your property on sale. Luckily, you can do things immediately to start the eviction
process and get the squatters to leave your property at the earliest.

Once the squatters have left, you may clean and repair your home before putting it up for sale.
The best part is that selling to Gaffsy is fast – We operate much quicker than estate agents where you have often see your house on the market for a prolonged period of time.

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