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Squatting’s a contentious issue in the UK that causes serious problems for landlords and property owners. On September 1st the government made a debatable decision to criminalise squatting in an attempt to appease the public furore the media have been stirring up for the past year.

It’s incredibly rare to find a situation that’s as black and white in reality as it appears in the press, squatting is one of those issues. I’d hope nobody reading this would begrudge a person in need living in an empty commercial building, or a vacant housing estate. I would expect everyone reading this to object...

After one of our tenants refused to vacate upon expiry of two months’ notice (Section 21), their landlord decided to apply for a possession order. We drafted papers on behalf of the client, they checked them, signed them, and we forward them to the court along with a cheque to assign the expense against the client’s property. It’s a fairly straight forward process and, after a few months of forms pinging back and forth from the client and the court, results in a possession order. Or at least it always used to be.

We received a letter from Bow County Court asking us why we were conducting litigation? Initially I misread it and was in the middle of celebrating my successful (and inadvertent) completion of a law conversion, when the possible implications of the letter sank in.

For those of you who’ve tried to seek clarification from the courts on documentation that they’ve sent, you’ll already know how pointless it can be, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

I rang the court to find out exactly why they thought we were conducting litigation.

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