homeless facing eviction from land - advice needed

Discussion in 'benefits and housing' started by krink, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    Not sure this is the right forum but anyway...

    Just got a message from a friend saying two lads he knows who are sleeping rough on council owned land have been given a letter saying they have to leave in 24 hours (29/08/2019).

    I think the council's next move will be to get a court order. what exactly can the council do? what can the court do? these lads are worried bailiffs are going to turn up.

    The land in question is a sort of alley round the back of a building, out of sight, derelict not open to the public but not exactly secure either.

    At this point I'm looking for advice/info on what will happen immediately. I have a friend in homeless agency working on other aspects.


    The text of the letter:

    Dear Occupiers

    Land to the rear of the former crowtree leisure centre, sunderland

    I would draw to your attention that;

    1. the land which you have entered, as trespassers, is in the ownership of the Council of the City of Sunderland, and
    2. No right license or permission to occupy this land has been granted to you by the council

    You are therefore required to vacate the land as a matter of urgency within 24 hours of the date of this notice [28/08/2019] leaving the land in good and tidy condition.

    In the event you fail to do so, I must advise that i will initiate legal proceedings to recover possession of the land, the cost of which will be sought against you.
  2. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    Is that letter a formal direction? does it literally and legally have to say it is a formal direction?
    SpookyFrank likes this.
  3. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    I'd ask for evidence of ownership
  4. crossthebreeze

    crossthebreeze Well-Known Member

    Get in touch with Advisory Service for Squatters:
    • Address: Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.
    • Phone: 020 3216 0099
    • Fax: 020 3216 0098
    • Email: advice@squatter.org.uk
    Opening hours
    MONDAY to FRIDAY from 2-6pm
    (NOT Saturday/Sunday). Don’t leave it to the last minute before contacting us as we are always busy:) If you wish to call in at the office, it’s best to phone first to make certain someone’s in.​

    They have Brief notes for going to court which may be worth reading

    Friends Families and Travellers may possibly be able to help
    Friends, Families and Travellers,
    Community Base,
    113 Queens Road,
    Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3XG

    Tel: 01273 234 777
    Fax: 01273 234 778
    email: fft@gypsy-traveller.org
    How to get help
    Traveller Advice Team:
    Advice Line: 0121 685 8677

    Contact hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (with exception of Bank Holidays).

    Out of hours emergency mobile: 07768 316 755


    Advice Line: 01273 234 777

    Monday to Friday 10.00am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday (with exception of Bank Holidays).
    and has this information:
    What to do if you are threatened with an eviction

    There are a whole range of factors that will determine whether an eviction, and eviction notices are lawful and whether anything can be done to stop or delay it. Every circumstance is different and the specifics of each case will determine what can or cannot be done.

    Contact us or the Traveller Advice Team as soon as you receive notice of an eviction. Contact details are listed below.

    If you leave it until the night before the police or bailiffs are due to turn up to contact someone, there is very little that can be done.

    There are four main types of evictions. These are:
    • Evictions by the Police and Local Authority from public or private land;
    • Evictions from private land by private landowner;
    • Evictions by planning authorities under planning law; and
    • Evictions from local authority and private rented sites.
    The first thing you need to know in any eviction is:
    • What kind of land or whose land are you being evicted from? Is it private or public land, highway, greenlane, etc.
    • Who exactly is evicting you? Is it a private landowner, a local authority, the police, planning authority, etc.
    • Which powers/laws exactly are being used to evict you? Is it a Section 61 eviction, Section 62a, Section 77, Part 55, etc
    The answers to these three questions are essential information and anyone you contact for help will need to know this before they will be able to do anything. As soon as you have gathered this information, call someone straight away.

    It is always worth double checking that the person / body trying to evict you:

    • actually owns or has license over the all of the land in question;
    • is using the correct powers and has followed the correct legal procedure to evict you; and
    • that the land for which the possession order is being sought is that and only that which is being trespassed.

    Further resources:
    Find a list of Traveller friendly solicitors in our Services Directory.

    Read advice from Marc Willers QC on Evictions from unauthorised encampments.

    Legally correct Feb 2015

    Last updated Aug 25, 2017​

    As far as I know (but I may not be right) they don't have to leave unless the council goes to court and gets a possession order. This is a notice before action I think. If council get a possession order and serves it then they will have to leave (or could face arrest). So long as they haven't (or at least can't be shown to have) caused damage, the costs are is unlikely as a) they are not named and they don't have to give their names b) they don't have an address and the court is are unlikely to find out next place they are live c) they obviously don't have money d) it won't look good if they go to the press. This may just be a legal thing the council does so it doesn't accidently lose possession by squatters' rights by ignoring it for a decade, or the council might really want them off the land.
  5. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    thanks crossthebreeze that's some fantastic stuff, I'm going to pass it all on to my mate. hopefully going to see these lads myself in the morning just to give a bit of solidarity. i will let you know what happens.
  6. Ground Elder

    Ground Elder Well-Known Member

    There is no defence to the claim for possession of land occupied by trespassers. As long as the council own the land and want your friends off, the court has no discretion and must order possession forthwith. In practice, there will be a delay before the council enforces the eviction and the council will probably inform the squatters of when they intend to send the bailiffs in, although they are not obliged to do so.

    The helplines above are all sound, (Shelter may be help as well), and can advise on homeless applications etc.
    SpookyFrank and crossthebreeze like this.
  7. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    Yeh but the council may find it hard or impossible to prove they own the land, and even if they can it may take time
    Poi E and muscovyduck like this.
  8. Poi E

    Poi E Well-Known Member

    Never know, might the residue of the commons. :(
  9. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    A few good comrades have been back to see the lads and give them some support. A solicitor we know phoned the council bloke and had a friendly chat where he actually convinced/persuaded him going to the court would be a bad Idea! I'll come back when I have more, cheers!
  10. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank If it's alive, don't lick it.

    And until there's a court judgement, they can't use bailiffs. They can and probably will send a couple of plod/pcsos/security goons to turf them off unlawfully, on the grounds that once you're off the land your rights as occupier are gone too. Bit of a paradox but not one which usually troubles these people.
  11. Ground Elder

    Ground Elder Well-Known Member

    Common law evictions are not 'unlawful' and are carried out frequently, (and land owners are permitted to use 'reasonable force), but Local Authorities will usually go to court to obtain a Possession Order.
  12. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    Hello, got a nice update and hopefully everything will work out ok.

    One of our comrades who is a solicitor spooked the council to back off, another works for a homelessness charity and they have sorted out getting some old tenancy arrears written off and got them on the books of another service provider who should be getting the two lads somewhere permanent by now. the arrears were bullshit anyway, a supported accommodation landlord who kept charging them rent after they were forced onto the streets because the place was uninhabitable and their complaints went unheard. anyway, it looks like it's all sorted and there's a few of us who know these lads now so we can keep an eye on them.

    Incidentally, one of the ministers from the church near where the lads were sleeping is also involved with us and he found out through the church records that the area was common land for 200 years and it's status has now been changed by the council and now it's no longer common land, oddly enough the change occurred just before our two lads were told to move. I didn't understand the legal terms but it doesn't sound good.

    Anyway, if there's any further developments I'll let you know, cheers everyone!
    JimW, Chilli.s, friedaweed and 9 others like this.
  13. Poi E

    Poi E Well-Known Member

    Some good news. Not much about.

    Changing commons to freehold title(s) took/takes an Act of Parliament. Wonder if the council has simply tried to place on the land whatever regulatory fetters it has to hand.
    krink likes this.
  14. friedaweed

    friedaweed Sitting down for a wee

    You have my upmost respect for that :cool:
    krink likes this.

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