Friday, March 18, 2011

At long last

Squatting is to be a crime: Police will be able to turf out intruders

The era of squatters’ rights is to end, the Daily Mail can reveal. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke is to scrap existing ‘soft touch’ laws and make occupying a private property illegally a criminal offence. It will mean the police can enter a property by force and evict the occupants within days. Offenders will face prosecution and even a jail term if found guilty. In Scotland, where squatting is already illegal, they can be jailed for 21 days.

Posted by mark @ 11:32 AM (4958 views)
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30 thoughts on “At long last

  • Long overdue, why couldn’t this have been done before?
    Our lax laws made our country a laughing stock and together with our generous benefit system, a magnet for down and out foreigners.

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  • Squatting is really no more than theft. Because the squatter steals the use of the building.

    It should have been a criminal offence years ago.

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  • @2. peter said…

    as long as it’s a criminal offence to leave a building empty!

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  • @ A Saver & Peter

    Of course squatting should have been made a criminal offence years ago but thanks to our politically correct view of everything, squatters have been seen as “victims” with “rights” just as violent criminals have but their victims haven’t.

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  • @SBC

    A hypothetical situation:

    You own a modest house, your job requires you to spend say 2 weeks away from home, when you return your house has been occupied by squatters. Still no problem?

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  • sibley's b'stard child says:

    Can’t say i’ve seen too many of these instances in the press; have you?

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  • Yep, one earlier this month in West Yorkshire.

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  • @SBC

    Whether it’s in the press or not, I’m sure your view would be different if something you owned was taken by someone else.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    Mr g – give me details.

    I think you Alf Garnet tendencies allow you to believe this, when it is not actually the case. I have not seen any real problem with squatting – just right wing moral panic, such as this biased, untruthful and deliberately misleading article. You need to to be able to identify what is your prejudice from what is truthful.

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  • sibley's b'stard child says:

    We can hypothesise all we want. In fact, i’ll even treat myself and hypothesise what i’d do if I won the lottery tonight. The fact is, the only instances if squatting i’ve seen in the media are ostensibly a second or third (etc) home that has been, ahem, appropriated. Given that a cornerstone of this site is railing against the acquisition of land/housing as a means of speculation means I couldn’t give a flying f*ck.

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  • @TNC

    Excuse me but what gives you the right to accuse me of Alf Garnett tendencies and the other slurs other than a liberal /left self satisfied smugness?

    If you can remember Garnett perhaps I should call you the “Scahse Git”?

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  • Mr G, squatting is not a big social problem as it stands. Yes, it’s the Daily Mail getting on it’s high horse exagerating a small issue out of all proportion. But I agree you wouldn’t want to come home from a couple of weeks in the sun to find strangers living in your house and said squatters having rights preventing you from throwing them out on their ear. You must admit that it is a symptom of a dysfunctional housing system that it takes place at all, but that doesn’t make it acceptable, and I would be inclined to phone a few friends and get rid myself rather than resorting to official channels – police & court system.

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  • @alan_540

    I agree 100% with your comments at 13 especially the point that a dysfunctional housing system doesn’t make it acceptable, which is where I started from, that in today’s PC society, squatters are “victims” and therefore must be in the right.

    As usual the liberal /left takes exception and resorts to puerile name calling.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    To the Alf Garnet’s

    Give me one shred of evidence of a normal person coming home to find someone claiming squatters rights in their house

    I shall await you replies and read the with interest and then modify my opinion if you come up with some evidence.

    I am giving you the chance to prove me wrong – so go on, do it!

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  • mr g “As usual the liberal /left takes exception and resorts to puerile name calling.”

    But isn’t this what you are inclined to do (along with other worse offenders)? The Daily Mail is such a biased paper that it is hardly with discussing any of the stuff in it. Anyway, squatting is just the flipside of another social injustice.

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  • lethemfall, what’s your position on squatting?

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Obviously, once LVT is introduced, the owner is paying the state full whack for guaranteeing him exclusive possession (even if the owner chooses to leave the house vacant) and therefore, the owner/taxpayer can expect the police to chuck out squatters forthwith and with short shrift. If the police fail to do so, then the LVT due will be waived for the period that the squatters are in there (fair’s fair).

    Short of that, I second what SBC says.

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  • alan540
    Thanks for your question.

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  • Hmm, hasn’t squatting been in the news twice recently?

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  • letthemfall’s position on squatting is that it hurts his thighs.

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  • 4. sibley’s b’stard child said…Can’t see the problem really; if those multiple home owners insist on acquiring places and leaving them empty…

    ~ Sibs hits the nail right on the head. This is the real reason for this law to be enforced now.

    Got to protect the banking slaves you know. IT’S A DISGRACE TO SEE PROPERTIES AS EMPTY INVESTMENT SHELLS.

    There are too many homeless people that the government could not give a sh1t about.

    Now try squatting in someone’s home (You know, a home) and Le Crunch would agree. Shoot them on sight. lol

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  • @TNC

    With respect you miss the point.

    No way do I condone the wealthy leaving properties uninhabited for lengthy periods but equally I cannot condone someone taking over, occupying, stealing, call it what you will, an item / property (in the broadest sense of the word, not just bricks and mortar) that belongs to someone else.

    It would be interesting to hear your views on what constitutes theft and what is not but please don’t put forward Proudhon’s “La propriété, c’est le vol!” as an example.

    @alan_540 ” that’s what annoys me about numbnuts, he always resorts to name calling, and then gets upset when he gets it back”

    That is the standard reaction of a bully who can dish it out but can’t take it when someone stands up to them and also the left when their arguments are deconstructed and they are unable to impose their imagined morally superior viewpoints.

    @LTF “But isn’t this what you are inclined to do (along with other worse offenders)?”

    I will admit to one name calling incident 2 or 3 months ago (not connected with politics by the way!) but apart from that I have never resorted to name calling before my riposte to TNC @12. I might disagree with left of centre views but I still respect the individual’s right to hold that view.

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  • To all of the above
    Many years ago I was ‘squatted’ upon after being away for a little under two weeks. The Police would do nothing except to say on the quiet, that I should have taken matters into my own hands rather than reporting it to them. The security of tenure of six months that the squatters achieved was nothing to do with human rights or their being victims of some sort, it was due to a misapplication of the Housing Act then in force, the case being argued by the CAB. It is the continuing abuse of the Housing Acts that squatters can call upon. I was broke at the time and the property was my home, I have never owned property other than my own home and I am neither a Daily Mule reader or an Alf Garnet.

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  • If I had to work abroad on a six month contract or whatever and came home to find my house full of squatters I think I would be somewhat
    peeved, have to admit.

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  • stillthinking says:

    Tax free empty housing.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    Mr G

    I do not miss the point at all – I just wanted real evidence – of which you have not provided one shred of evidence to back up your claim, just like the Daily Mail, and your Pavlovian reaction to Daily Mail misinformation is pathetic. I base my views on evidence and not prejudice. I do not think it alright to Squat in someones property, I just hate the social engineering of right wing hate rags whipping up moral panic to suit their own political ends

    Iguana @ 24
    If it is true then that is terrible and is a real crime and those responsible should pay a real price just the same if they stole from you. Most of the stories I have read about and researched have not been personal tragedies like yours, but many right wing newspapers have tried to report stories about truly empty homes, unlike yours, disingenuously which is why I have displayed such scepticism.

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  • I believe it was me who first used the term ‘Alf Garnett’ to describe some of the posters on a thread quite some time ago.
    It was a reactionary term to what I felt were rather bigoted right wing views being displayed on that particular thread.
    So I feel compelled to defend TNC to some extent, I think TNC puts forward some valid arguments and is a valuable contributer to this site,
    but resorting to personal insults by either party is a little childish.
    Yours faithfully,
    Alf ‘bleein’ Garnett.

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  • markj69 str05 says:

    What a waste of time that was – reading most of the comments above. Alan and tnc you need your heads banging together. If you have nothing good to say (Unless it be constructive), then don’t say anything.

    Regarding the post;
    If anyone entered my property while i was away, they would’nt be in it for long upon my return (And I wouldn’t call the police).
    If i pop down the shop and return to find someone in my house, does that constitute squatting, or illegal entry?
    Properties left unoccupied for long periods (2nd homes etc..) do add to the problems we see with supply. They also, I believe, cost less in council tax. Odd when you’ve probably got more money than most if you can afford a 2nd home.
    And what happend to that compulsory purchase rule, if a property remained unoccupied for- 2yr?

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  • I dont consider squatting to be such a bad thing – not worth getting too worked up about as I am also under the impression that in 99.9% of cases it is empty props that are being targetted.

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  • i thought squatting required no illegal / forced entry. To my mind that raises a few issues:

    1. If you left your door unlocked / window open etc etc then dont you have some responsibility? KNOWING that you could be “squatted on”.

    2. If there was forced entry then the squat is illegal and they can be removed, since it now becomes a criminal offence (of course persuading PLOD of this may be a different story). This of course leads to there being proof that there was illegal entry – if you are away for a few months then the squatters could presumably render evidence useless. [eg could break a window and then fix it].

    3. I think there is an interesting question relative to renting. What happens if someone while renting has squatters turn up and take it over? Then I would further what happens IF that person happens to be a “friend” of the renter?

    Hmmmmmm .

    I think greenmind is right – nothing to get worked up about, a bit like identity theft…. until it happens to you, and then you find how much support a victim gets… FA to a JT!

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