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Just a couple of months ago a residential property owner burdened with squatters would have faced a long ordeal, obliged to issue civil proceedings in court and prove that the squatters had trespassed, before a conviction could be obtained. This process was both costly and time-consuming. Last month, squatting became illegal and the Ministry of Justice issued guidance for police and other law enforcement agencies on the new criminal offence.
Good news for the residential property landlords: bad news for businesses. Senior lawyers have warned that squatters will start targeting commercial properties, since their removal from these remains a civil matter.
Commercial property owners in Central London have been observed tightening security on their premises to ensure that they cannot be accessed legally through an unsecured door or window. Mr Amir Kifae, who owns many offices in Mayfair, informed Tom Lax, surveyor at Morgan Pryce, “I have invested money in making sure all of my offices in Mayfair have 24-hour manned security.”
Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.