What to do when squatters occupy a home?

Verified 28 July 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Squatter is the act of entering a place by break and enter (after having forced a lock, broken a window...), deception, threat or violence, to occupy it without the authorization of its owner. If your your primary or secondary residence (furnished) is squatted, you should not force squatters to free the house on your own. You must take steps to obtain their eviction or forced evacuation. We explain how to do it.

Please note

A tenant who stays in the dwelling after the end of the lease and without the agreement of the owner is not a squatter. The same shall apply to a person who refuses to leave the premises after having been accommodated there by the person living there.

Squatting in a principal residence or a secondary residence (furnished) is punishable:

  • For entering the dwelling, 3 years imprisonment and €45,000 fine
  • And for occupying this dwelling, 3 years imprisonment and €45,000 fine

For squatters, the winter break does not apply. Their eviction or forced evacuation can take place at any time of the year.


In the case of an uninhabitable dwelling (garage, non-residential premises, land), the steps to be taken are different. These approaches are not presented on this page.

2 types of procedure are possible, an accelerated procedure or a procedure involving the judge:

Accelerated procedure: forced evacuation

In order to obtain the forced evacuation of the squatters, the owner of the squatted dwelling, or the person whose dwelling is squatted, or a person acting on behalf of the squatter, shall:

  • File a complaint for home invasion at the police station or gendarmerie
  • Prove that the dwelling is his home or property, for example by means of invoices, tax documents, a certificate provided by a neighbor
  • Have a judicial police officer, or the mayor, or a commissioner of justice (formerly a bailiff) make a declaration that the housing is squatted


When the owner cannot prove his right of ownership because the housing is squatted, the State representative in the department requests, within 72 hours, the tax administration to inform him of the ownership of the squatted housing.

Who shall I contact
Who shall I contact
Who shall I contact

Subsequently, the representative of the State in the Department of give formal notice squatters to leave the house. It is possible take a lawyer to draft the request to the State representative in the department.

The State representative in the department makes his decision taking into account the personal and family situation of the squatter.

The decision must be made within 48 hours of receipt of the application.


In the event of a refusal, the State representative in the department shall state the reason for the refusal.

The formal notice is:

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

If the squatters have not vacated the premises within the time limit set by the State representative in the department, the State representative in the department must evacuate the dwelling without delay by law enforcement, unless the applicant has objected. The winter break does not apply to squatters.

Please note

It is possible to contact a Commissioner of Justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer) to make a finding, give you legal advice and help you implement this procedure. The fees of the Commissioner of Justice are free and are at your expense. The Commissioner of Justice must give you a personalized quote before the start of his intervention.

Procedure before the judge: expulsion

The owner of the squatted dwelling must:

  • Take a lawyer to refer the case to the judge (this involves asking the judge to authorize the eviction of the squatters and order them to pay the landlord a fee for occupancy)
  • Prove that the accommodation belongs to him (title, tax documents, invoices...).
  • Prove that the house is squatted. To do this, it is recommended that you load a Commissioner of Justice to go to the site to make an observation and identify if possible at least one of the squatters (by questioning them, by noting their name on the mailbox...).
Who shall I contact

The lawyer must seize in interlocutory proceedings the protection litigation judge on whom the squatted dwelling depends.


If no squatter is known (a very rare situation), the lawyer can refer the case to the judge by request.

A Justice Commissioner must then send the squatters a summons to the hearing (subpoena).

Please note

At the hearing, the landlord has the right to obtain the eviction of the squatters, without entering into a discussion about the right to respect for their private and family life, or their right to occupy decent housing.

Squatters must be informed of the judge's judgment by means of a significance.

If the squatters don't leave the house within one month of serviceHowever, they need a commissioner of justice to issue them a command to leave.

Once the Commissioner of Justice has issued the command to leaveHowever, squatters must leave the accommodation, they cannot benefit from any delay.

In the event that the squatters remain in the dwelling, the Commissioner of Justice must ask the State representative in the department for the assistance of the police to evict them from the dwelling. The winter break does not apply to squatters.

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