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What do you do when squatters occupy a home?

Verified 04 February 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Squatter is the act of entering a place by breaking in (after forcing a lock, breaking a window, ...) or by deception, threat or violence, to occupy it without the permission of its owner.

If your home is squatted, you should take steps to get evictions or forced evictions of the squatters.


in the case of uninhabitable housing (garage, premises that are not for residential use, land), the steps to be taken are different. These steps are not presented on this page.

The squatter can be punished:

  • 1 year imprisonment and €15 000 fine for entering the dwelling
  • and 1 year imprisonment and €15 000 fined for occupying the flat.


a tenant who remains in the dwelling after the end of the lease and without the agreement of the owner is not a squatter. The same applies to the person who refuses to leave the premises after having been accommodated by the person who lives there.

It is not possible to force the squatters to release the housing by themselves. Steps must be taken to secure their expulsion or forced evacuation.

In the case of squatters, winter truce does not apply. Their expulsion or forced evacuation can take place at any time of year.

Please note

it is possible get free advice from a lawyer.

Accelerated procedure: forced evacuation

To obtain the forced evacuation of squatters, the person whose dwelling is squatted (or a person acting for them) must:

  • Make a complaint about a home violation at the police station or the gendarmerie
  • Prove that the house is his home, for example by means of invoices, tax documents, a certificate provided by a neighbour
  • Have a forensic police officer declare that the house is squatted


the squatted dwelling can be a main residence or a secondary residence.

Who shall I contact
Who shall I contact

You then have to ask the prefect to challenge squatters to leave the house. It is possible to take a lawyer to write the application to the prefect.

The Prefect shall issue his decision within 48 hours of receipt of the application.


in the event of a refusal, the prefect shall state the reason.

The notice is:

  • notified to squatters, who have at least 24 hours to leave the house
  • posted in the town hall and on the building concerned
  • (optional).

If the squatters did not release the premises within the time limit set by the prefect, the prefect must evacuate the house without delay by the public force, unless the author of the request objected. The winter truce does not apply to squatters.

Please note

it is possible to contact a judicial officer to make a finding, give you legal advice and help you to implement this procedure. The bailiff's fees are free and are at your expense. The bailiff must give you a personalised quote before the beginning of his intervention.

Procedure before the judge: expulsion

The owner of the squatted accommodation must:

  • Take a lawyer who will take the case to the judge (this is asking the judge to authorise the eviction of the squatters and order them to pay the owner a compensation for the occupation of the premises)
  • Prove that the property belongs to him (title, tax documents, invoices, ...).
  • Prove that the housing is squatted. To do this, it is recommended to load a bailiff to go to the scene to make an observation and identify if possible at least one of the squatters (by questioning them, by raising their name on the mailbox, ...).
Who shall I contact

Lawyer must seize in the protection litigation judge on whom the squatted dwelling depends.


if no squatters are known (very rare situation), the lawyer can refer the case to the judge by query.

A bailiff must then send the squatters a summons to the hearing (assignment).

Please note

at the hearing, the landlord has the right to have the squatters removed, without entering into a discussion about their right to privacy and family life or their right to decent housing.

Squatters must be informed of the judgement of the judge by means of a meaning.

If the squatters do not leave the house within one month of service, an usher must deliver them a command to leave.

As soon as the bailiff issued the command to leave, squatters have to leave the house, they have no time limit.

In case the squatters remain in the dwelling, the bailiff must ask the prefect for the assistance of the public force to evict them from the dwelling. The winter truce does not apply to squatters.