Over the past few weeks we’ve been out to support several groups of squatters who have been threatened by owners claiming the right to demolish their buildings. These threats can be made despite a possession order not being issued to the owner.  So, when the bulldozers in town what’s to do?

Well the good news is property owners can’t have a property demolished with people inside. Obviously, that could be murder. So, they have to get you out before work can commence, i.e, take you to court. Remind them of this and then firmly state that you will not be leaving the property until ordered to do so by court. If they continue to threaten then let them call the builders in. No demolition company would even consider knocking down a building when there are people inside, much as the owners may want them to. Getting done for manslaughter is really not top of demolition companies to do lists.

So, there really is very little possibility of any work starting on the property without your consent/a possession order granted and executed. If you’re still not feeling comfortable, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to talk to that owner for you.

Aside from demolition, what about if there is building work allegedly due to start on the property? Your very irate owner comes banging on the door screaming about how the builders *gasp* were supposed to start today and because of YOU *gasp* they can’t! Well, this is a trickier situation. In they eyes of the law, you still have the right to remain in your home until a court says otherwise. Section 6 still applies, whether its
residential or commercial premises. However, you may want to consider moving on. For many, squatting is about sheltering in abandoned, disused buildings and putting them back to use. If there is genuine building work about to start then the building is obviously going to be used and thus won’t be your home for much longer. You are still perfectly entitled to go through the court process though.

Irrespective of your views on the right thing to do in such situations, it’s always a good idea to check that there really is building work about to commence. One way of doing this is by searching online for planning applications for your building. Type the relevant council followed by .gov.uk to get to the main website. The planning application search is normally in the section called ‘environment’. When you ‘ve found it, type your address into the search box. If results come up look at them closely, how old is the application and what is it’s status? If
the status is ‘granted’ then it means the owner has permission to do building work. If then status is ‘pending’ then the council are still deciding whether to accept or reject the application. If the status says ‘denied’ then it’s not happening.

So, all in all, don’t let the threat of demolition/building work worry you. Chances are it’s likely to be an empty threat. Do check it out though and get in touch if you need any advice.

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