70+ years
of legal expertise

70+ years
of legal expertise

Dealing with squatters and adverse possession

The recent case involving celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and a family occupying his Duke of Albany pub near Regent’s Park in London highlights a complex legal issue: squatters’ rights and adverse possession.

While the specifics of Ramsay’s case remain private, KWW Solicitors partner and property expert Salv Sole (pictured) says it serves as a timely reminder for homeowners and business property owners of the potential challenges posed by uninvited occupants.

Understanding adverse possession

In the UK, adverse possession allows someone who isn’t the legal owner of a property to acquire ownership rights if they meet specific criteria. These typically involve:

  • Occupation: The squatter must be living in or occupying the property as if it were their own
  • Exclusion of the owner: The squatter must be actively excluding the legal owner from accessing the property
  • Intention to possess: The squatter must demonstrate the intention to own the property
  • Time: The occupation period can vary depending on the circumstances but it’s usually a minimum of 10-12 years.

Why legal specialists are crucial

Squatter situations can be stressful and require a delicate approach. Legal specialists such as KWW Solicitors with expertise in adverse possession can provide invaluable assistance.

We start by assessing the squatter’s claim against the legal owner’s rights, considering factors like the duration of occupation, intent and any attempts by the owner to regain possession.

In many cases, reaching a negotiated settlement with the squatter can be a faster and more cost-effective solution than eviction proceedings. We can guide negotiations and ensure a fair outcome for the homeowner or commercial premises owner.

If negotiation fails, eviction becomes necessary to secure a possession order and ensure the squatter vacates the property.

We can then advise on steps to prevent future squatting, such as securing the property and ensuring clear communication with tenants.

While details are limited, the situation involving Gordon Ramsay underscores the importance of acting swiftly when faced with a squatter. The longer a squatter occupies a property, the stronger their claim becomes under adverse possession laws.

If you find yourself in a situation with squatters, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice from KWW Solicitors. Our team of property law specialists can help you understand your rights, explore your options and work toward a swift and effective resolution.

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