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Trespassers on Private Land


If you own land and have ever had an issue with squatters, travellers or trespassers then you’ll understand how difficult it can be to regain possession.

There are two routes to eviction depending on the circumstances.

Common law eviction

The first is under common law, the law states that:

“If a trespasser peaceably enters or is on land, the person who is in or entitled to possession may request him to leave, and if he refuses to leave, remove him from the land using no more force than is reasonably necessary.”

The first step is to request that the trespassers vacate the land. If the trespassers don’t move, then the next step is to serve notice you intend to evict them.

To evict under common law, a notice of eviction will be served giving the trespassers 24 hours to vacate. If after 24 hours has passed and the trespassers haven’t vacated the land, then the eviction can take place.

Landowners shouldn’t look to carry out an eviction without the use of certificated enforcement agents who know the law and relevant procedures. Certificated enforcement agents will also carry out a risk assessment and follow health and safety procedure. The police should be notified, and this is so that they can prevent a breach of the peace if necessary.

Eviction under a writ of possession

If you think the eviction might be resisted or that the trespassers might become violent then obtaining a writ of possession will be the safer route to possession of your land. Police can be called upon if required to assist with an eviction under a writ of possession and if necessary.

Eviction under a writ of possession is a slightly lengthier process. You’ll need to obtain a judgment in the county court, once you have this judgement it can be transferred to the High Court. Transferring the judgment to the High Court to obtain a writ of possession is £66 and the necessary forms need to be completed.

Once you have the writ of possession no further notice is given to the trespassers and the eviction can take place.