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Commercial land owners beware

By January 17, 2017January 29th, 2021Litigation

Squatters who have moved into a former city centre pizza restaurant are set to be evicted on Wednesday.

A group of about 30 people, thought to be those who occupied the Ducie Bridge pub last month, have moved into Old Colony House, in South King Street .

They are appealing to be allowed to remain in the building, which also used to house a Pizza Express restaurant.

But the property’s owners have been granted an order for possession following a hearing at Manchester County Court .

They say the building is not safe for people to live in, and that those set to be evicted will be supported.

An eviction is set to take place on Wednesday morning, with notices having been posted on the building.

It is clear that homelessness is on the rise in Manchester. With an increase in homelessness comes an increase in squatters and trespassing. The law sets out that it is a criminal offence to trespass on residential premises. However, commercial premises are slightly different. The law sets out that if you are subject to squatters/trespassers as an owner of commercial premises, then you will need an order of the court to remove the trespassers. This is not a cheap process and it is very unlikely you will ever recoup any of the legal costs or court fees from the trespassers. The costs are likely to be in the thousands and, depending on the courts timetable, it can take several weeks to obtain the necessary order which gives the power to instruct a bailiff and have the trespassers evicted. At no time can you forceably remove trespassers yourself, this is a criminal offence in itself.With that in mind our advice would be to secure and monitor your premises closely and ensure you have adequate security in place. If trespassers do take up occupation, then contact the police and a solicitor who can assist. From experience the trespassers may be receptive to negotiation and it may be worth trying to discuss with the trespassers when they intend to leave, if an agreement can be reached this will save expense.  That being said, it is a sad situation and the Government really should be doing more.  It is not a long-term solution for trespassers to inhabit commercial premises and proper assistance should be available, everyone should have access to somewhere safe to live.The issue with trespassers is that, as in the case below, it is often unsafe for them to take up occupation in empty commercial premises. Similarly quite often a commercial premises will have adjacent residential premises and as such poses a risk to the residential tenants where unsafe practices such as fires being lit can cause a fire risk. We have experience of assisting, guiding and acting for owners of commercial premises who have been in these types of situation. If trespassers take up occupation in your premises then you can contact us to assist.

Alison Rocca

Author Alison Rocca

Alison is a solicitor in our Litigation department.

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