Skip to main content
Sign up to updates

Tick tock, time is up for professional TikTok squatters

Senior Associate, Amy Castleman, shares her experience of dealing with professional ‘TikTok’ squatters.

We received instructions from a new developer client upon the recommendation of a high-quality surveyor firm based in London.  The client needed to evict so-called ‘professional TikTok squatters’ from one of its properties, a vacant former pub in the East End of London.  We’ve dealt with hundreds of trespass cases, some are well-known property activists who regularly rally the troops on Facebook and Twitter, but professional TikTok squatters were a first for us (but we’re sure they won’t be the last).

These professional squatters find an empty commercial property, break in, and occupy the building; when discovered they demand a huge ransom from the owner to get them to leave (when they move on to the next property!).  All of this is documented on TikTok… with tips and tricks to help other squatters.  The squatters also enjoy creating new identities – we can’t disclose the names but in this case, one identified himself as a world-famous artist.

The first step was to apply for an interim possession order (IPO) which was done within two days of instruction.   IPOs are usually avoided because of the very strict timeframes and rules to serve papers on the squatters, but if granted, the squatters must leave within 24 hours of service failing which they will be committing a criminal offence and can be arrested.  Despite arguments from the squatters, we were awarded the IPO.  This gave police discretion to remove the squatters…unfortunately in this instance that didn’t happen, even after a five hour standoff.

A final possession hearing took place this week and despite further representations on behalf of the squatters, our client was awarded possession.   Once the bailiffs have done their part, our client can re-let and avoid further damage to the property.

Our Property Disputes team has outstanding experience in evicting unwanted occupants of buildings, from professional squatters and trespassers to unwanted property guardians.  We can also help with practical strategies to mitigate the risk of illegal occupants in both residential and commercial properties.  Please get in touch with our highly experienced team.


Greenwoods Legal LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England, registered number OC306912. Our registered office is Queens House, 55-56 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ. A list of the members’ names is available for inspection at our offices in Peterborough, Cambridge and London. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA number 401162. Details of the Solicitors’ Codes of Conduct can be found at All instructions accepted by Greenwoods Legal LLP are subject to our current Terms of Business. VAT Reg No: 161 9287 89.

    By completing and submitting this form, you consent to Greenwoods Legal LLP processing your personal data to provide you with the email update services you have selected and any other materials and information about our services that Greenwoods Legal LLP reasonably believes will be of interest to you. You are free to withdraw your consent at any time by emailing