Squatters and unauthorised occupants
An unlawful occupant or a squatter is a person or persons who are residing in a property without permission from the council.
An unauthorised occupant is when a person remains in the property after the tenancy has ended. A person may be illegally occupying a council home because they are not a tenant, but were living there when the tenant moved out – they could be a member of the family or a lodger for instance.
A squatter is someone who enters an empty home and remains in the property illegally.
(Breaking and entering is not squatting – it is trespassing. The police have powers to remove trespassers immediately – especially if the evidence of forced entry is still present. If you see someone breaking into a property, call the police straight away and inform the Neighbourhoods Team on 345 354.)
Although we regularly visit properties we know to be empty, we appreciate information we receive from our tenants on vacant properties that we may not be aware of, as sometimes the first person to know someone is occupying a property without permission is a neighbour.
If you become aware of squatters or unauthorised occupants in a property, we would be grateful if you would let us know by contacting the Neighbourhoods Team on 345 354. This information will be treated in confidence. We can then start investigations and take the appropriate action.
The laws on squatting are quite complex. In some cases it may take a little while for the council to evict someone who is squatting, although this may not be the same in every case.