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Eviction from your own land

If you are a Gypsy/Traveller and you own the land you are camped on, you may be evicted if you don't have the necessary permissions to build an encampment. The council can serve an enforcement notice or a stop notice ordering you to leave, and has the power to remove your vehicles from the site. This page explains what you can do in this situation.

How can the council evict me from my own land?

If you set up a Gypsy/Traveller site on your own land, you will probably need to get planning permission and a site licence from the council. Gypsies/travellers and private sites and the section on mobile homes has more information on the kind of sites that need licences, and you can find out more about getting planning permission in the section on building work.

What can the council do if I don't have planning permission?

If you don't get the necessary permissions, the local planning authority (usually the council) can serve an enforcement notice or a stop notice ordering you to leave. Before serving the notice, the council has the right to send an officer to visit your camp to see whether you have broken any planning laws. You mustn't try to stop this officer coming onto your land, as this is a criminal offence and you could be fined.

In addition, before serving a notice, the council must:

  • take into account your human rights (in particular, your right to respect for private and family life)
  • ensure that they're not discriminating against you because you are a Gypsy/Traveller
  • show that the action they are taking is necessary to protect the rights of other people in the community.

Can I appeal against the enforcement notice?

If the council sends you an enforcement notice, you have the right to appeal against it - the page on planning permission has more information on how to do this. For help and advice, contact a solicitor or a planning law expert, such as Planning Aid for Scotland, who offer free advice on planning issues.

If your appeal fails but you still don't move, the council has the power to remove your caravan - the page on eviction of gypsies/travellers by the council explains more about this. In addition, as refusing to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence, you may face a fine and even imprisonment for up to two years. Read the page on eviction of gypsies/travellers by the police to find out what to do if you're charged with a criminal offence.

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The important points

  • If you set up a site on your own land, you will probably need to get planning permission and a site licence from the council.
  • If you don't get the necessary permissions, the local planning authority can serve an enforcement notice or a stop notice ordering you to leave.
  • If the council sends you an enforcement notice, you have the right to appeal against it.
  • If your appeal fails but you still don't move, the council has the power to remove you.

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