Squatter Legislation – What you need to know

Residential squatting legislation moves squatters to retail and commercial properties.

In 2012 section 144 of LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of offenders) made it a criminal offence to trespass in a residential property with the intention of living there. While this has in theory made it easier for residential landlords to remove illegal occupants, there are now strong signs that squatters are targeting commercial properties where section 144 does not apply. Indications are that vacant retail premises are now at a higher risk and landlords of such vacant property should consider reviewing their security and insurance cover during void periods.

At Compound Security Specialists, we speak to landlords of residential and commercial property all the time and many owners have only a vague understanding of their insurance cover. Like most of us, they don’t always read the fine print because, lets face it, insurance is just one of those things you have to have and few are passionate enough about it to really bother understanding it in detail. Most landlord policies contain a clause stating that after a specified void period, the insurance cover is reduced because the risk of damage to the property increases when it’s empty. The common term used for this is ‘FLEA’ cover, which essentially means that only Fire, Lightening, Explosion, Earthquakes and Aircraft impact are covered. Some insurers will extend this FLEA cover during vacant periods for a price, but this does not negate the initial problem that if squatters target your premises, it is going to be a long, painful and likely expensive battle to remove them and that’s not likely to happen before they have caused significant damage to the property.

There are certain steps commercial landlords can take to prevent squatting, such as boarding up windows and doors with steel, however, such action leaves premises looking extremely unattractive to prospective tenants and often results in an extended void period. The smart operators have now turned to fully monitored video alarm systems that can be installed and removed in a matter of hours in combination with a fully trained and equiped rapid response service, so that if the alarm is triggered, the response personnel can remove the intruders BEFORE they get a foothold on your asset.

Compound Security Specialists provide clients with the most advanced vacant property alarm systems and services, tailored to each clients individual requirements. Si Morris, managing director says “we do not just install an alarm and then forget about it. Every system is monitored constantly, not just for activations, but for faults and other issues to ensure maximum efficacy at all times. Our aim on every job is to allow clients to put the day to day security of their property out of their minds and concentrate on running their businesses’.

Don’t let squatters steal your property. Call Compound Security Specialists for advice or a no obligation quotation today!

Compound Security Specialists are an SSAIB certified Vacant Property Security installer and registered suppliers to NLA members