Gypsies and Travellers – Advice for Landowners

What Is Traveller Eviction?

Vacant industrial and commercial properties provide an appealing chance for travellers and squatters to infiltrate your property. If you discover that someone has gained unauthorised entry to your property or building or even land that you own, you may well be worried about damage, burglary, and vandalism.

This is where an expert in an eviction notice for travellers can come in. Traveller eviction means removing the travellers and other unwanted trespassers from your site, letting you have it back. Getting rid of travellers will bring you peace of mind. To do this, you need to have a good knowledge of the law. While this may be frightening and irritating for property owners, the good news is that you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of evicting travellers yourself – there are experts on hand to do that for you.

Who Is Responsible For Evicting Travellers Of Private Land?

Traveller Eviction

When gypsies or travellers occupy private property and private land, it is generally the duty of the property owner or landowner to take the appropriate steps to remove them. The local council can only deal with trespassers on council-owned property.

The landowner can try to reach an agreement with the travellers on a departure date, but this does not have to happen since they can file an eviction action in the County Court under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. Of course, having a dedicated company to help them is the best thing for everyone.

How To Evict Travellers From Private Land

While most people believe that removing trespassers from their own property is as simple as contacting the police, this is not the case. They cannot carry out the eviction for you since it is classified as a civil issue rather than a criminal offence. They may, however, monitor the eviction to see whether any illegal activity occurs.

If the travellers have established themselves on local authority territory, the government recommends that the local authorities proceed to court to obtain an order removing the trespassers from their property. You do, however, have additional options as a private landowner.

According to common law, Section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act, landowners have the right to remove visitors from their property using ‘reasonable force’ if necessary. To verify that the procedure is lawful and proper, Certified Enforcement Officers (formerly known as bailiffs) must be present.

How To Evict Travellers From Private Land

To begin the common law procedure, a representative of the property owner (typically an enforcement officer) must ask the trespassers to leave their property. Then you must give them a period of time, usually 24 hours, to depart your property. If they have not gone by this time, the enforcement authorities may use reasonable force to evict the trespassers. When they are removed, the police will photograph any damage done and ensure that the area is safe.

Although, as previously mentioned, the police cannot actively assist with the eviction, the enforcement agency will usually seek a police presence to ensure that there are no breaches of the peace. The police are only permitted to intervene if any of the following are committed by two or more trespassers:

  • They have harmed either the land or the property that stands on it.
  • They have used threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour against the occupant, a family member, or any employee or agent of his.
  • Placing six or more cars on the property

A Writ of Possession is another option for landowners, in which a writ is issued against ‘unknown individuals’ and subsequently executed by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

Landowners must ask the travellers to leave, and if they refuse, they must apply to the court for an order of possession under Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Once the writ has been granted by the hearing, it must be served directly to the travellers or posted prominently in the area. If the land is not vacated, the court will issue a possession order and set a future hearing date. The HCEO may begin reclaiming control of the land after the eviction order is issued.

The problem with utilising a Writ of Possession is that it takes considerably longer than using common law. It will also be more expensive, even without taking into account any situations that may arise as a result of the trespassers being on your property for an extended length of time. The benefit of utilising Writs of Possession is that once the trespassers violate the order, they are committing a criminal offence, which means that the police can become involved, and those who stay face prison time.

Can The Police Do Anything?

The police will visit all reported locations, but trespassing is a civil offence, not a criminal one unless you have particular criminal problems with travellers. The landowner is responsible for preventing trespass and removing trespassers, not the police.

What Are Private Bailiffs’ Powers?

Once instructed by a property or landowner to proceed, a private bailiff can do a lot to help. This includes:

  • Asking trespassers to leave (this is the landowner’s responsibility, but bailiffs can, with permission, do this)
  • Issuing and serving a court summons
  • Seeking a possession order in court
  • Serving the possession order, and, if necessary
  • Executing a warrant for possession

How Long Does It Take To Evict Travellers?

How long it takes to remove travellers from your land will depend on what path you have chosen for the eviction. If you have chosen to use common law, then private bailiffs can be with you within 24 hours to start eviction proceedings, and the eviction itself will be over in a matter of hours in most cases.

How Can You Prevent Travellers From Occupying Your Land?

Illegal encampments on your property may be very disruptive. It doesn’t take long for the emergence of an unauthorised campground to have an impact on your company or family, and unwelcome guests can pose a danger of property damage, as well as fly-tipping, noise, and even abusive or threatening behaviour. Therefore, it’s crucial to prevent this from happening, if at all feasible, and useful to know how to stop travellers moving in.

Keeping caravans off your property can be simple in certain cases, particularly if there are few vehicle access points. Keeping your gates closed and locked overnight and erecting strong fences around the perimeter prevent your property from becoming an easy target for an unauthorised campground.

However, if you have a big area to protect, such as open fields or business parks, this is more difficult. Security patrols are the perfect option if you are determined to keep persistent trespassers at bay.

Contact MEC To Assist You With Any Traveller Eviction Needs

If you need any help, guidance, or advice regarding traveller eviction from private land, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at MEC. We have many years of experience in evicting travellers, and we are happy to help you.

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