Sunday, August 22, 2010

Squatting on the rise

Young, urban professional seeks home – vacant premises will do

As the recession bites, squatting is soaring, and those doing it are often not what you might expect. The number of people living in squats in England and Wales has risen by 25 per cent in the last seven years, according to new figures. But contrary to popular belief, greater numbers of squatters are now professional, middle class and upwardly mobile. Squatting is lawful in England and Wales (but not Scotland) if entry to an empty property is not forced resulting in criminal damage. Owners of the squatted building are forced to take civil action through the courts to remove the unwanted occupants. Experts say the new generation of squatters have a greater understanding of the law and how it can protect them, helped in part by sophisticated legal advice available on the internet.

Posted by drewster @ 11:00 AM (1972 views)
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17 thoughts on “Squatting on the rise

  • I suppose it would be far too much too expect the great coalition govmint to go and make squatting a straightforward criminal offence wouldn’t it.

    People who do this are no better than burglars. Mate had his house squatted and trashed and got himself a caution because he was cheeky enough to ask them to leave.

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  • Total Collapse says:

    The possibility of Squatters incentivises homeowners to either let or sell their property rather than leave them empty.

    Trashing someone else’s property is a criminal offence. So is breaking and entering.

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  • This is the very last refuge of the desperate and the law has to protect the vulnerable. Peter, if your mate was in the house and not leaving it vacant to try to conserve its value the squatters would never have got in in the first place. Think about it …

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  • Agree with Paul.

    Also, something should be done to get vacant property back into service. If that is compulsory purchase for a nominal sum then that should be done. Look at emptyhomes.com to see how there were 651,993 empty properties in England alone in 2009.

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  • I said this would happen long ago and I feel it hasn’t really taken off In the way I was expecting, yet.

    Just keep sticking up the rents and the proles will revolt. Everyone has their limits.

    An empty home left for too long is just a tempting opportunity for a so called saver to get a just return for their ‘shameful’ prudence.

    We all have investments and justice at times has to be taken into ones own hands when all else fails.

    Injustice does not inspire justice. The system is broken.

    However, there are no excuses for wrecking these properties.

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  • @Peter

    Squatting is a very useful form of protest, which is well worth keeping as a civil offence at the cost of the occasional squatted building being trashed.

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  • Yeah Peter I agree! A mate of mine left his Lamborghini parked in a residential area near Heathrow airport while he was away working in the middle east for six months. When he came back he found the wheels had been nicked. Honestly, the police should have had an armed guard on his car every day while he was away (even though technically he wasn’t paying taxes in this country while abroad). It’s only fair. An Englishman’s car is his horse & cart, after all.

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  • I agree Peter – I think any homeowner should have the right to shoot to kill anyone who comes within 200 miles of their property.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    As to squatters, this is something else that LVT will sort out.

    Firstly, there would be far fewer vacant properties (whether derelict, between sales, second home etc).

    Secondly, in return for the registered owner paying the LVT, the state is honour bound to turf out squatters – fair’s fair, that’s why you pay your LVT in exchange for the state guaranteeing exclusive possession. Failing which, the registered owner would be entitled to withhold LVT payments as long as squatters are in there, so the state has every incentive to turf them out.

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  • “Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS)” … !?

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  • Squatting sounds quite tempting after reading that. You seem to have as many, if not more rights than a tenant and you don’t have to pay any rent!

    Most tenants have very little security of tenure anyway and can’t make improvements to the property. Presumably legal process for eviction of a squatter would take longer than the std 1 month notice for a tenant…?

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  • MW i am curious would LVT sort out a dose of VD too? lol

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  • > Will Kahn, senior adviser at Tenant Eviction
    What a charming job.
    Nick

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Mark 12. Not particularly, but neither does VAT or income tax.

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  • Blame Gormless Brown for empty houses. He let DSS claimants switch their claims from landlord to themselves. My nephew let his house out to a woman with 5 kids as he cannot afford to live there until he can switch his mortgage. She let her claim expire then signed a new form switching payments to her bank. She spent the 3 month arrears then did it again the next year. BEWARE LANDLORDS do not let to DSS tenants till this stupid rule is changed.

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  • Empty homes do not create wealth but landlords are increasing afraid to let to DSS claimants because they can steal the rent and have to be at least 2 months in arrears before it can be switched back and arrears collected from their benefit. Council tenants cannot switch the rent so it is only private landlords getting ripped off. Since there are not enough council homes the burden of housing these claimants falls on the private landlord. Empty houses mean B&B costs for council tax payers. Councils should take over management of private property so that landlord is guaranteed to receive the housing benefit payments. Better still, change the rules as these people need protecting from their own greed and so do their children. Sorted!

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  • I read in the press recently about an OAP who vacated his property for a spell and on his return found that squatters had moved in. They had changed the locks so the gentleman was unable to gain access.
    The police stated that they had no powers to evict the squatters.
    Does this mean that citizens who own property are not protected by law should squatters exercise their rights and occupy somebody’s home.?

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