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Interim Possession Orders

Recently we have seen the high-profile issue of squatters occupying celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey’s empty premises in central London (

Interim Possession Orders (IPO) can be a helpful tool for property owners facing unauthorised occupation or squatting on their premises. As a means of swiftly reclaiming possession, the IPO procedure aims to make it quicker to recover vacant possession of a premises that is illegally occupied.

What is an Interim Possession Order?

An IPO is a court order that enables property owners to regain possession of their property swiftly when it has been unlawfully occupied. Typically, this applies to scenarios where individuals have entered and are occupying premises without permission or a legal right, commonly known as squatting.

When Can an Interim Possession Order Be Granted?

To obtain an IPO, certain conditions must be met:

  1. Illegal Occupation: The premises must be illegally occupied, meaning the individuals present have no legal right to be there.
  2. Notification: The property owner must provide notice to the occupiers, informing them of their intention to seek possession of the premises.
  3. Prompt Application: The property owner must apply for an IPO promptly, within 28 days, after discovering the illegal occupation.

The Process of Obtaining an Interim Possession Order:

  1. Application: An IPO is applied for in the County Court nearest the premises.
  2. Service of the application: within 24 hours of the issue of the application, the property owner must serve notice of the upcoming Hearing on the occupiers.
  3. Hearing: The court will hold a hearing to assess the evidence and determine whether an IPO should be granted.
  4. Service: If granted, the IPO will be served on the occupiers, usually providing them with 24 hours to vacate the premises voluntarily.
  5. Possession: If the occupiers fail to vacate within 24 hours, the property owner can apply for a Warrant of Possession, which will enable the property owner to regain possession with the assistance of a High Court Enforcement Officer.

Benefits of Interim Possession Orders:

  • Speed: IPOs offer a swift resolution compared to traditional eviction processes, allowing property owners to regain possession in a more timely manner.
  • Legal Protection: By obtaining a court order, property owners can protect their rights and property interests while avoiding potential legal disputes.
  • Deterrence: The threat of an IPO can deter individuals from unlawfully occupying property, serving as a preventive measure against squatting.
  • Cost-Effective: IPOs can be a cost-effective solution for property owners, minimising the financial burden associated with prolonged legal proceedings.

Interim Possession Orders provide property owners with a valuable remedy for reclaiming possession of unlawfully occupied property. By following the proper procedures and obtaining a court order, property owners can swiftly regain control of their premises.

If you are faced with unauthorised occupation or squatting on your premises speed is of the essence and we are here to assist. If you need help with unauthorised occupation or squatting, please do get in touch.

We are here to help - 0800 84 94 101