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Squatters and unauthorised occupants

Squatters and unauthorised occupants

A squatter or unauthorised occupant is someone that lives in a property without permission.

An unauthorised occupant is a person that stays in the home after a tenancy has ended. If someone (such as a family member, friend or lodger) lives with a tenant but doesn't leave when the tenancy ends, they may be illegally occupying the property.

A squatter is someone who enters an empty home and remains there illegally.

'Breaking and entering' is not squatting – it is trespassing. The police have powers to remove trespassers immediately – especially if there is evidence of forced entry.

If you see someone breaking into a property call the police straight away; if the property is a council home please inform the neighbourhoods team on 01246 345354.

Council homes

Although we regularly visit properties that we know are empty, the first person to know if someone is occupying a home without permission is often a neighbour.

If you know of squatters or unauthorised occupants in a council home, please let us know by contacting the neighbourhoods team on 01246 345345. This information will be treated in confidence. We can then start investigations and take the appropriate action.

The laws on squatting are quite complicated. In some cases it may take a while for us to evict someone who is squatting, although this may not be the same in every case.

Privately owned properties

The can't take action to evict squatters or unauthorised occupants in privately owned homes.

If you know of squatters or unauthorised occupants in privately owned premises please contact the owners if you know who they are.

If you see a crime being committed please contact the police on 101, or in an emergency call 999.


Last updated on 27 February 2019