The case of Wakolo v DPP  EWHC 611 (Admin) is a reminder of the provisions of the Criminal Law Act 1977. There is a very helpful, but not often used provision, that gives the police power to arrest trespasser(s) (squatters), where there is a protected intending occupier and the trespasser(s) refuse to leave the property having been requested to do so. A protected intending occupier is someone who requires the premises for their own occupation; is excluded from occupation of the premises by trespasser(s); and they have a certificate issued by a registered provider of social housing stating that they have been granted a tenancy or a licence to occupy the premises. As a result, where a property is occupied by trespasser(s), registered providers can provide the relevant certificate to a tenant and the police can arrest the trespassers if they refuse to vacate thereby avoiding court proceedings. However, this does not apply to void residential premises where there is no protected intending occupier, or to commercial property.
For more information please contact Paul Hayes or your usual Lewis Silkin contact.