Founder of Landlord Action Paul Shamplina explained people moving into a property without permission are a “big problem” for landlords.

Landlords  need to do as much as possible to ensure their properties are unappealing to squatters, one expert has suggested.

Founder of Landlord Action Paul Shamplina explained people moving into a property without permission are a “big problem” for landlords.

Research produced by the firm indicates instances of squatting are likely to have risen by approximately 15 per cent come the end of 2010 and he advised owners to take a number of steps to ensure they do not become victims to the crime.

“Landlords should invest in security systems as well as security doors and windows to make it harder to break into a property,” the specialist remarked, adding the key to preventing a house being used by squatters is to ensure any vacant periods are kept to a minimum.

Mr Shamplinas comments come after the Ministry of Justice published guidelines for dealing with squatters, which note it is possible for police to arrest the offenders under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

A new guide designed to help landlords when their properties are taken over by squatters has also been unveiled by housing minister Grant Shapps.

Speaking to the BBC, the politician noted that this is a “huge issue” for people, calling the practice “antisocial, undesirable and unfair” on those who find their properties invaded.

Criticising the Advisory Service for Squatters – which provides information for those who take up residence in someone elses house, such as changing locks and refusing to answer the door to the police – Mr Shapps advised people to ask neighbours to look out for dwellings if they go away.

“It shouldnt be that the squatters get the upper hand … The government is determined to put people back in charge of their own property,” he remarked.

Landlords can apply for interim possession orders to remove squatters, which demands that anyone occupying premises without prior consent must leave within 24 hours of the document being served.

Posted by Royston Hunter