New laws scrap ‘squatters rights’

New laws scrap ‘squatters rights’

10:03 AM, 31st August 2012, About 12 years ago 25

Text Size

Ban Squatters RightsWhat are your thoughts on the new laws scrapping squatters rights and making squatting a criminal offence?

Squatting in residential property in England and Wales becomes a criminal offence on Saturday 1st September 2012. Under clause 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, the offence of squatting will be punishable by up to six months’ jail and fines up to £5,000 in England and Wales.

20,000 squatters in England and Wales now face eviction as Police prepare to enforce this change in the law which criminalises those occupying residential buildings without a valid tenancy.

Phil Gormley, chief constable of Norfolk who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on uniformed operations, said: “We can now act immediately and remove squatters directly from properties in line with the new legislation and ensure people’s homes are protected.”

Housing Minister Grant Shapps seems to disagree with the housing charities. He is quoted as saying “No longer will there be so-called ‘squatters rights’. Hard-working homeowners need and deserve a justice system where their rights come first – this new offence will ensure the police and other agencies can take quick and decisive action to deal with the misery of squatting. We’re tipping the scales of justice back in favour of the homeowner and making the law crystal clear: entering a property with the intention of squatting will be a criminal offence. By making this change, we can slam shut the door on squatters once and for all.”

Justice minister Crispin Blunt said: “For too long, squatters have had the justice system on the run and have caused homeowners untold misery in eviction, repair and clean-up costs. Not any more.”

Mark Alexander, founder of Property118 warns that commercial landlords are not protected by the new laws and raises the question “given that the news laws only make it illegal to squat in residential properties does this mean that commercial landlords with empty properties are likely to bear the brunt of the fall out?”

Left wing Housing Charities have been quick to jump on the media bandwagon by claiming the news laws will increase homelessness. QUESTION – are squatters not technically homeless anyway?

Leslie Morley, Chief executive of housing charity Crisis made a very interesting point though when she said “”Ultimately the Government needs to tackle why homeless people squat in the first place by helping not punishing them.”

Readers of Property118 will be very much aware of why the problems exist, will it get worse though with the proposed changes to the benefits system?


New information added >>> HERE

Share This Article


0:27 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

I imagine there might be a place here for G4S......................LOL!
This as those commercial premises will need guarding better than they are presently, if at al!!
I imagine there wiii be run on trained Alsation guard dogs.!?

Ben Reeve-Lewis

1:36 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

Kennels!!!!!!! an investment opportunity Paul haha

2:41 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

Seriously though; and I know it isn't really your terms of reference but surely your council and others have been aware of this legislation and making contingency plans for all these soon to be most likely homeless squatters.
20000 is a lot of people to be possibly dumped on the streets across the country.
Police will be earning a lot of overtime!

Ben Reeve-Lewis

4:17 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

surely your council and others have been aware of this legislation and making contingency plans for all these soon to be most likely homeless squatters."

hahahaha And in the real world? Paul mate we dont have resources for little things like pro-activeness. Its flashing blue light stuff all the way. We had massive staff cuts 2 years ago and now we are facing more. It is doubtful if I have a job left come January, in which case violent landlords, dodgy agents, squatters? The floor is all yours

9:54 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

Look at the Law Society'sGazette for supporting common sense opinions

10:56 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

I think it needs to be balanced with a much more robust approach to long term empty properties. There is a large family bungalow near me with a huge garden, which has been kept empty by a small developer for 6-7 years as part of a speculative tax dodge. Only after repeated approaches to the Council has action been taken.

Devon Landlord

11:59 AM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

THis new legislation has possibilities it seems to me. When my non paying tenant remains in my property at the end of his/her AST am I now able to define his/her occupancy as squatting? I think that this is the case. So in addition to all the slow moving legislation that enables me to get him/her out is it not true that residential landlords now have another arrow in the quiver to support them. This, in addition to the fact that to claim benefits, under the soon to be introduced Universal Credit, a person has to have a place of residence, gives a little more power to the landlords' elbow when dealing with the awkward minority of tenants who cause the most trouble.
Bring it on I say!

13:03 PM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

Does this mean that any tenant who has been given notice to leave but stayed beyond the due date can be arrested and charged?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

14:07 PM, 1st September 2012, About 12 years ago

It doesn't work that way I can assure you - please see >>>

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now