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I have trespassers occupying my land. Can I evict them?

On 18 April 2020, it was announced that an exception to the current stay in possession proceedings and ban on all evictions has been made to allow possession orders to be made against trespassers.

This means land owners can take action to remove unauthorised persons occupying their land. Trespassers include: squatters; travellers; failed successors of secure tenancies; and licensees whose licences have been terminated.

Further, the automatic stay to possession proceedings currently imposed no longer applies to applications for interim possession orders meaning any persons found to be “squatting” on land without permission may again be subject to an order requiring them to leave your premises within 24 hours of service of that order.

Related FAQs

What security will be required for CBILS?

At the discretion of the lender, the Scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under.

Lenders were required to demonstrate lending additionality (i.e. lending that without the Scheme, wouldn’t have otherwise taken place). The Scheme has been extended to those businesses who would have previously met requirements for a commercial facility and would not have been eligible for CBILS.  As a result  it is suggested that all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating.

Primary Residential Property cannot be taken as Security under the Scheme. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the Scheme, they will do so.

Can I require employees to take holiday during furlough?

Yes. Government guidance now confirms that employers can be required to take holiday during a period of furlough, so long as they are given minimum notice to do so. The notice required is double the length of the holiday.

Employers are also able to cancel employees’ holidays (or require them not to take holiday) if they are on furlough, for example if they are not in a position to pay the additional 20% top up to their normal wages (or more where they earn in excess of the £2,500 monthly cap on furlough payments). Again, employers are required to provide a minimum period of notice of cancellation, which in this case, is the length of the planned holiday.

Employers can ask employees to take or cancel holiday with less notice but they would need to get their agreement to do so.

Government guidance has been updated to state that “Employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period.” If a period of furlough happens to coincide with an employee’s holiday then you should ensure that there are business grounds to support furlough being used in that instance so that it isn’t just being used as a means to fund holiday utilisation.

Will remote court hearings be permitted?

Court hearings have been conducted remotely, with the judgment in Kerry v SSCLG being given via telephone. The Senior President of Tribunals issued emergency Practice Directions which will apply to Property and Lands Chambers’ respectively. This has made provision for remote hearings. Inspections of properties have been suspended with immediate effect, with photographs, videos or external visits permitted where appropriate. Where inspections are essential, the case should be stayed.

What are the minimum consultation time limits?

Where an employer is proposing to dismiss:

  • 100 or more employees at one establishment within a 90-day period, consultation must begin at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect
  • Between 20 and 99 employees within a 90-day period, consultation must begin at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect
  • If you are proposing to dismiss less than 20 employees then there are no minimum time limits but you must adhere to a fair process which will involve individual consultation and providing the employee with a right of an appeal
Do I need to obtain consent from a member of staff if we have taken the decision to restrict/alter their duties?

If the duties are so fundamentally different from their contracted role, then yes. For example, if you are asking a frontline clinical member of staff to undertake administrative tasks in another area, then this will be a fundamental change to their terms and conditions for which you need their consent.

If there is a minor alteration to their duties, or the clause within their contract is wide enough to cover their amended duties, then arguably to do not need their consent but best practice would be to obtain their agreement.