If you are squatting in Stockton-on-Tees, you could be easily arrested and evicted.
This term squatting is used if someone enters and lives in a property in Stockton-on-Tees without having permission from the owner or tenant.
Worthy of mention is that squatting in Sedgefield, Stockton-on-Tees, or Thornaby-on-Tees can only be considered as a last resort.
It can not prove to be a long-standing option for homeless people as they are most likely to be evicted from Stockton-on-Tees or arrested by police.
You are not a squatter if you stayed on the property in Durham after the end of license or tenancy.
It is a criminal offense to squat in a rental property in Stockton-on-Tees.
You may be arrested and if you are convicted, you could:
Sent for up to six months in prison in Stockton-on-Tees
Levy you for up to £5,000
However, you cannot be arrested as a squatter in Durham if:
Stayed on the property in Stockton-on-Tees following the end of your tenancy or license
Genuinely moved into a property in Durham thinking you were a tenant, but you were cheated by a bogus renting agent
You are a traveller or gypsy encamping on an unauthorised site in Stockton-on-Tees
As a Stockton-on-Tees squatter, you may be removed from a property if:
The police in Durham are not prepared to make an arrest
The owner of the property in Stockton-on-Tees, Thornaby-on-Tees, or Sedgefield will not involve the police
You are staying in a commercial property in Stockton-on-Tees
The Stockton-on-Tees property owner may change the locks to the squatter's room(s) while the latter is away.
If there is a squatter inside the property in Stockton-on-Tees, the landlord will have to first get a Durham court order if there is anyone who has refused to vacate.
It is illegal for the owner to threaten or apply violence during eviction.
The owner must send a copy of their possession claim documents via the letterbox or attach it to the front door at least 5 days to the court hearing in Durham (or 2 days for squatters in commercial sites).
The documents must contain the information about place and date of hearing in the court and also defence form.
You can challenge the case to confirm you are not a squatter in Stockton-on-Tees.
You can do this by replying through the defence form to the court and go to the court hearing in Stockton-on-Tees.
The court in Durham will ask you to immediately leave the property in Stockton-on-Tees if you're a squatter.
If you refuse to move out, the owner can request the court bailiffs in Durham to evict you.
Squatters in Thornaby-on-Tees, Stockton-on-Tees, or Sedgefield are also called homeless because you cannot claim the right to own a place where you are living.
As a homeless person, you can apply to your local council in Stockton-on-Tees for help.
If you are single and homeless you must be advised on finding someplace to stay in Stockton-on-Tees by the Durham council.
There are areas in Durham that offer emergency assistance via specialist services as an option to sleeping rough.
If you at risk, for instance if you have young children, or are pregnant, the Stockton-on-Tees council may make emergency housing provisions for you.
However, the council cannot offer long-term housing if residences or immigration restrictions apply to you, for example, you are an asylum seeker in Stockton-on-Tees, Thornaby-on-Tees, or Sedgefield or your immigration status is "No recourse to public funds".
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