Archiv für März 2011

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No more squatting?

Updated | The housing minister Grant Shapps wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph that he wants to make squatting a criminal offence and ”shut the door to squatters once and for all”

The changes to the law are being investigated by the Ministry of Justice at the moment (update: read the government’s press release and new guidance here). They will be of interest from a human rights perspective, although aspects of the UK’s current approach to squatters rights were declared compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights by the grand chamber European Court of Human Rights in the 2007 case of JA Pye (Ocford) LTD v. United Kingdom.


Clarke cracks down on wave of squatters

The days of anarchist collectives living rent-free in Georgian townhouses are numbered: the Government is holding „urgent discussions“ to make squatting a crime. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has asked his department to devise a law that will save homeowners from having to bring civil proceedings against people occupying properties without permission. Instead, police will be empowered to seize buildings and bring criminal charges against squatters, who will face jail.

The proposed change in England and Wales – squatting is already a crime punishable by 21 days‘ imprisonment in Scotland – follows a series of high-profile cases where squatters have invaded properties worth millions in elegant streets in central London.

Coalition to make squatting a criminal offence

The Government will bring forward legislation to help homeowners protect their properties from unlawful occupants.
This newspaper has highlighted cases where squatters have moved in to other people’s houses then exploited current laws to remain on the premises, forcing the owner to go to court to obtain an eviction order – a process that can take weeks or months.
Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, is the first member of the Government to confirm that new laws are on the way.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he said: „This Government is acutely aware of the misery squatters can cause, and the anger at the perception of ’squatters‘ rights‘ and that these people who invade properties can do so and go virtually unpunished.
„That is why we are working to strengthen the law to make it a criminal offence.“