No more squatters rights

No more squatters rights

9:32 AM, 24th March 2011, About 13 years ago

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The news that squatters’ rights are coming to an end and that anyone squatting can be  evicted within days will bring a huge sigh of relief from landlords letting agents and councils the length and breadth of the country.

The fact that someone could break into someone’s property, stick up a poster of Che Guevara and then claim squatters rights, virtually laying claim to the place has even attracted squatters from other countries.

Thankfully after years of campaigning by landlords, property owners and MPs it appears that England will no longer be such a soft touch. Under plans outlined by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke offenders will face prosecution and even a jail term if found guilty. For the many thousands of people who have had their properties hijacked this can’t come soon enough.

However, what about people who routinely take on a lease then don’t pay their rent, or use the property as  a massage parlour or cannabis farm?  And what about the people who create such a foul mess or cause such damage it takes the owner weeks and thousands of pounds to restore the property to a reasonable state?

The problem here is the time it takes to get any unpaid rent back through the courts. It can be a very long and expensive process and sometimes those owing money are unable to pay what they owe. Likewise going through the courts to get compensation for damage. It is also important not to forget the stress and disruption taking a rogue tenant can cause.

That is why it is so important to choose the right tenant in the first place. After all prevention is always better than a cure.

A new nationwide network has been established carrying details of tenants’ letting histories and provides important information on prospective tenants to enable those letting properties to make a more informed choice about who they have renting their homes.  Landlords throughout the UK are being encouraged to join the network and add details of their tenants to help create a giant national database which will highlight good tenants and identify those who have a history of non payment or damage. The more landlords, letting agents and councils become involved, the better the database will be and the greater the chance that serial bad tenants will be weeded out .  For more information visit

Chris Birdsall


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