New Laws for Squatters

Posted: 01/06/2012

From the 1st September 2012, it will be a criminal offence to squat in someone’s home. The definition of squatting is when someone enters and lives in a property that was not fully secured without permission from the homeowner.

There is an estimated 100,000 squatting incidents every year and the amount is set to rise due to websites being launched, offering help and advice on how to be a squatter.

At the moment, squatting is a civil matter but the Government vowed to make squatting a criminal offence when 21 MPs backed the proposal on the 4th April 2012. The legislation to make squatting a criminal offence was passed on the 1st May this year by Parliament.

Under the new laws being enforced in September, squatters could face up to 6 months imprisonment and a £5,000 fine if found in a property without the homeowners permission.

It is essential that homeowners are given more powers to deal with unwanted squatters but charities such as Shelter are outraged by the passing of this new law as they claim it will cause a rise in homelessness.

Squatting is becoming an increasing issue with the current climate of the UK and its property market. Squatters are renowned for residing in run down or derelict danger zones but the times are changing. More and more squatters have been found in larger properties. This new breed of squatters have been deemed ‘Mansion squatters’ as they have targeted many multi million pound homes such a Guy Richie’s £6 million home in London.

The biggest problem for homeowners is the damage squatters make to the property as they do not maintain the amenities, they can cause extensive damage to the building, steel from the house, graffiti on the walls and even commit drug crimes.

What is your opinion on squatting and do you think the Government have made the right decision to make squatting a criminal offence?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(1) Comments Squatting law, Government, Shelter

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