Some incidences have come to LAS2000 attention that some Southwark Council officers feel that they can enter and demand entry to Leaseholder, Homeowners property without notice and even removing property or property from the property.
LAS2000 have approached the Council to deal with those individual cases and help those members personal were possible. LAS2000 has also been logging other issues of this type institutional complacency and negative attitude towards Leaseholder, Homeowners.
In Law this is normally is called trespassing. You need to check out your lease and take legal advice immediately this comes to your attention. Particularly those Leaseholders, Homeowners who sublet their property, as it might be a long time before you find out. Trespass is the unlawful occupation of or interference with property or property belonging to someone else. Trespassing can take different forms such as ‘squatting’, dumping rubbish on someone’s property or encroaching on a neighbour’s property in a boundary dispute. Trespass is not, for the most part, a criminal offence. However, trespass on residential property which amounts to ‘squatting’ has been a criminal offence since 2012.
The law provides remedies to those who are harmed by the conduct of other people. Trespass to property is one of the oldest actions known to the common law and consists of any unjustifiable intrusion by a person upon the property in possession of another.
When a trespass is alleged, it is for the trespasser to justify the ‘trespass’ to avoid the consequences; for instance, they have a licence to occupy the property or a legal right of way across someone’s property. To prove trespass there must be an intention to interfere with the right of possession, and this includes removing a part of property or property belonging to someone else. Even a minimal encroachment on someone’s property may amount to trespass.
Trespass to property does not require proof of damage for it to be actionable in the courts. If the damage is caused by a trespasser, a charge of criminal damage can ensue.
What are the types of trespass?
The most common form of trespass is entry by the trespasser on to the Leaseholder, Homeowners property. Other forms of trespass include:
• Placing objects on the property, such as fly tipping.
• Removing property or property from the Leaseholder, Homeowners property.
• Abusing an existing right to be on someone else’s property, including remaining on the property when permission has expired.
• Other actions that are deemed to be trespass under specific statutes.
There are other forms of trespass, and proper legal advice must be taken regarding these.What amounts to authorised entry to property?
If the alleged trespasser can prove they were authorised to be on the property in question, they can defend a claim against them for trespass. Permission to enter the property can be granted in a number of ways, including:
• Express permission given by the plaintiff, whether verbal or written, such as in the form of a licence or a ticket.
• The legal right of way, such as an easement over the property.
• “Public rights” of way.
However, where there is an authorised right to be on the property, that right must not be exceeded or abused. Otherwise, a trespass may have been committed. For instance, if an individual has the right to use a specific field for exercising horses, they must not go outside of that area. If a licence permits someone to be on the premises until 10 pm, but they remain on site after 10 pm, they will be trespassing.
Where a licence or other form of permission is revoked, authorisation to be on the property or property is withdrawn. If the licensee still goes onto the property, they may be trespassing.
Sometimes, it is necessary to go onto someone else’s property without authorisation. Necessity is a defence to trespass to property. For example, the police and other law enforcement authorities have the power to go onto the property in the lawful execution of their duties.
Also, under the Access to Neighbouring Property Act 1992, an occupier can make an application to the court for an access order to enable them to enter the adjoining/adjacent property to carry out repairs. The court will not, however, make the order where the adjoining occupier would suffer interference with, or disturbance with the full use or enjoyment of his property, or would suffer hardship to such a degree that it would not be reasonable to grant the order. The court may require the applicant to pay compensation for any loss or damage or any loss of privacy or other substantial inconvenience.
There is also a clause in some Leases that allows access order to enable them to enter the adjoining/adjacent property to carry out repairs.
Who can sue?
The person who has “immediate and exclusive” possession of the property that has been subject to trespass can sue. Possession refers to occupation or physical control of the property, this may or not be the legal owner of the property.
What damages can be sought?
You may seek damages, or an injunction, or both. If the trespass is continuing, an application for an injunction can be made – but it will have to be proved that the trespasser is in unlawful possession or use of the property.
Where the trespass is trivial, damages may be nominal, and an injunction refused. Where a trespass concerns some use of the property without causing damage, the damages will be measured in relation to the value of the defendant’s use.
Where the trespass has caused physical damage to the property, damages are measured by the decrease in value of the property, not the cost of restoration.
If they have dispossessed of your property, you can bring an action for the recovery of the property. However, you must establish a right to immediate possession of the property to succeed. You can also claim damages for any loss sustained during the period of dispossession. Any damages will be for the value of the use and occupation of the property, and any damage to the property itself.
You can make a formal complaint to the Council via their website http://www.southwark.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/complaints-comments-and-compliments/making-a-complaint, or You can also email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the customer service centre on 020 7525 0042.
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