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Interim Possession Order

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Interim Possession Order –A Quicker Procedure To Remove Squatters

Applying for an Interim Possession Order (‘IPO’) from the Court is an option available to a landlord (both individually and commercially) who finds anybody occupying their premises without their consent.  Should an IPO be granted by the Court the squatters must leave the premises within 24 hours after being served a copy of the IPO, or they will be guilty of a criminal offence.

Requirements

In order to apply to the Court for an IPO there are a number of requirements that need to be met.   It is important to note that the procedure for an IPO does not apply to open land and the application needs to be made within 28 days of the date the landlord became aware of the unauthorised occupation.

Procedure

A Claim Form and application for an interim possession order, which includes a supporting witness statement of the landlord, will need to be sent to the Court. 

Once the Court has issued the application for an IPO a hearing will be listed for as soon as possible, but not less than 3 days after the issue date.  The landlord is then required to serve the proceedings within 24 hours of issuing. 

Hearing

At the hearing the Judge will decide if the conditions for an IPO have been met.  If they have been an IPO will be granted and will then be prepared.  The IPO must be served within 48 hours of the IPO being approved by the Judge. 

The IPO will also contain a date for a further final hearing, this date being the date the IPO expires.  At the final hearing the Judge may make a final Possession Order, dismiss the claim or provide directions.  The final hearing may not be required should the premises be vacated by the squatters before the final hearing.

Advantages

The application for an IPO is a quicker method for the recovery of premises, with hearings being listed far quicker than normal possession proceedings.  In addition, once an IPO has been granted the landlord can instruct police or private bailiffs to remove the squatters if they have not vacated in accordance with the IPO.

Costs

To avoid unnecessary costs, it is important to ensure you meet all the requirements before an application for an IPO is made.  In addition to legal fees, you will be required to pay disbursements such as the Court issue fee.

Case Study

JCP recently acted for a commercial landlord who identified a number of squatters on one of their large commercial premises. JCP issued Court proceedings which were served on the squatters who  vacated the site within 6 days. JCP obtained an IPO in  this matter and subsequent final Possession Order to protect the landlord in the event the same squatters returned to the site in the future.

For further information in relation to making an application seeking an IPO, or advice on possession proceedings in general, please contact our Property Litigation team

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