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Residential squatting criminalised

04 Sep 2012

As of 1st September, squatting in residential buildings has become a criminal offence giving homeowners far greater protection.

Last summer the Government publicly consulted on options to tackle squatting, including:

  • making it a criminal offence for the first time;
  • sending persistent offenders to prison, and
  • abolishing so-called ‘squatters rights’.

As a consequence of that consultation, the Government decided to criminalise squatting in all residential buildings to deal once and for all with the misery that squatting can cause making it an offence punishable by a maximum prison term of up to six months, a £5000 (maximum) fine or both.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:

‘For too long, hardworking people have faced long legal battles to get their homes back from squatters, and repair bills reaching into the thousands when they finally leave.

‘No longer will there be so-called ‘squatters rights’. Instead, … 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. And by making this change, we can slam shut the door on squatters once and for all.’

Written by Richard Nelson LLP

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