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TRAVELLERS TRESPASS TO LAND

TRESPASS TO LAND: It is a real possibility that a Yacht Club may find itself in the unenviable position of having trespassers (be they Travellers or Gipsys) descend upon its property and set up home. This is a most unwelcome situation and great care and diplomacy must be taken in the handling of it. Travellers have had legal rights for sometime and indeed these rights will undoubtedly have been enhanced due to the Human Rights Act 1998. Most Travellers will be more than aware of these rights! It is not legally possible to evict Travellers by using force. You can, of course, certainly request that they leave, and indeed, as long as there is no threat of violence we suggest that you do so. In reality, however, it is unlikely that they will leave the property until the legal process demands they do! Unfortunately this means that legal proceedings for possession will have to be commenced, there is no alternative. As well as the legal process there is a diplomatic process to go through. The Club does not want its property damaged We suggest that the club nominate one person to deal with the matter. Tell all other members not to enter into conversation with the Travellers. If they cannot avoid a conversation, they should not engage in the conversation but just listen and report back to the nominated person. Without seeming to be rude the Club should not accommodate the Travellers; so any requests for facilities eg. water should be politely refused. Indeed if there are any facilities that the Travellers are helping themselves to, such as an outside water tap, it should be turned off. It is a possibility that the Travellers will invite you to offer them a sum of money to encourage them to leave. We would advise that under no circumstances should such a course of action be entertained. Whilst in the short term it may seem beneficial insofar as they will most likely leave immediately, you can be sure that www.rya.org.uk

© Royal Yachting Association Updated: 19 June 2008

they or their kind will be back in the very near future for some more of the pie! We recommend that you contact your Local Authority who should have a Gipsy and Traveller Liaison Officer. The Local Authority should be able to offer advice on how to handle the situation. You should immediately contact the police and request their presence. Ideally the police will make regular visits to the site throughout the day and night for the duration of the Travellers stay. A police presence should just help to ensure that matters remain amicable. Travellers are not generally known for their cleanliness and tend to vacate sites leaving them in a terrible state. If during their stay the site becomes littered with rubbish, animal waste etc then we suggest that you contact the Environmental Health department at your Local Authority. If there is any danger of injury and/or damage to the Travellers and/or their property due to the hauling out of boats etc....you should contact the Healthy & Safety Executive. It is highly probable that the Club will have valuable assets at the site; you may therefore with to employ a security firm to guard the property whilst the Travellers remain with you. Unfortunately this all involves substantial costs but is the only means of legally removing your unwanted visitors from the premises and ensuring the security of the Club's property during their stay. Matters can get ugly; we have all seen news reports of Travellers on farmers land and the damage that they have caused. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent this kind of action by Travellers. They either will or will not cause damage to the premises. The only advice we can give you is to treat them with respect and do not under any circumstances get into any arguments with them. If they do cause damage at the property then contact the police immediately. LEGAL PROCESS: Proceedings must be issued the day the Travellers arrive. The proceedings will be issued in your local County Court.

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© Royal Yachting Association Updated:19 June 2008

Proceedings are issued on: Form N5 Claim for Possession of Property; and Form N121 Particulars of Claim for Possession (Travellers); and Circumstances in which the land has been occupied by the Travellers can be provided in From N121 or attached to it by virtue of a witness statement. These documents have the effect of providing the Court with evidence of the Club's right of possession of the property and that the Travellers do not have a right to possession. Ideally the claim will be issued against persons unknown. However if the Travellers make themselves known to you it will be necessary to issue proceedings against named persons. So it is much better if you do not attempt to find out any of their personal details. The Application fee is approximately £130.00 ­ this is subject to change. Upon issue the Court will provide a return date for the hearing of the matter. The return date will depend upon the Court's diary but ideally it will be within a couple of days of issue. Under the current Rules of Court, the return date cannot be more than two days after the claim form and other documents are served on the Travellers. A Court Process Server will need to be instructed to serve the Court documents, fees for which will be in the region of £80. The Travellers are, of course, entitled to attend the hearing but they rarely do as they generally have no defence against the proceedings, that is, they have no entitlement to be on the land. At the hearing, if the Court is satisfied with the Club's claim, it will make an Order for Possession of the Property. This Order will need to be enforced by either the County Court Bailiff or the Sheriff. The Sheriff will ordinarily enforce the Order more quickly but his fees will be in the region of £225 administration fee and £150 per hour for his time. The Bailiff will cost in the region of £90 but may take up to 3 weeks. Once issued, your Court Order is valid for 3 months. If it has been issued against Persons Unknown, you may use it to evict any traveller that comes upon your land within those 3 months. If it has been issued against a specified person, then you may only use it to evict that person.

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© Royal Yachting Association Updated:19 June 2008

INSURANCE: We suggest that you speak to your insurers to ascertain whether the club is covered for this type of incident. For more information kindly contact the RYA Legal Department on 0845 3450373 or [email protected] Disclaimer: The RYA Legal Department provides generic legal advice for its members, affiliated clubs and RTCs. This leaflet represents the RYA's interpretation of the law. It takes all reasonable care to ensure that the information contained in this leaflet is accurate. The RYA cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions contained in this leaflet, or for any loss caused or sustained by any person relying on it. Before taking any specific action based on the advice in this leaflet, members are advised to check the up to date position and take appropriate professional advice.

mep[Leaflets/Clubs/Travellers Trespass to Land]

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© Royal Yachting Association Updated:19 June 2008

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