Following government concerns ‘about the serious direct financial and emotional impact squatting can have on the owner and occupiers of property,’ it was made a criminal offence in residential buildings in 2012. However, under current law, squatting is still not illegal in commercial buildings, despite the same concerns applying.
In a recent survey carried out by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management) and Orbis, 16 per cent of property managers have reported an increase in commercial squatting; in London, as many as 83 per cent of managers have experienced it.
In some areas of the UK, following an incident of squatting, the cost of a basic clean for a three storey commercial site starts at £1,500. This is on top of the legal fees for removing the squatters, which start at around £5,000 per incident. Owners also risk other potential costs, such as paying compensation to anyone injured on the premises, or the risk of accidental structural damage caused by a squatter, from fires or flooding for example.
Guy Other, CEO at Orbis commented:
“The best method of dealing with squatting is to take a proactive approach and remove the risk of it occurring in the first place. A bespoke vacant property solution will prevent squatters from invading premises and spare owners the costs of having to remove them and clean or make repairs.”