Unauthorised encampments | Sevenoaks District Council

Unauthorised encampments

An unauthorised encampment is when a person or group moves on to land they do not own without the landowner's permission.

This is trespass, a civil offence, giving landowners the right to repossess their property using the law.

When an unauthorised encampment is reported to us, we will try to find out who owns the land. We also check if those on the land have any welfare issues we have a legal duty to consider.

If the site is not owned by us, the landowner must deal with the encampment, but we may be able to offer advice.

Encampments on District Council land

We must follow a set legal process to deal with unauthorised encampments on our land.

If there are no specific welfare issues to consider, we will serve a 'Direction to leave'.

In most cases, people camping on the land will move before the Direction to leave expires. If they remain on the land past the date and time given in the Direction to leave, we will apply to the courts for a possession order.

A summons is served on those camped on the land to attend court.

If the courts grant an order to remove the encampment, the person or people camped on the land are served with the order.

If they remain on site after the order is served, we may take direct action or contact bailiffs to carry out an eviction.

Evictions may involve our staff, Kent Police and bailiffs. They will be carefully coordinated so the eviction is safe for everybody, including those on the site and those living nearby.

It may takes between eight to 14 working days to complete an eviction process, depending on the circumstances of each case and the time taken to get a court hearing.