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Why Is Squatting Legal in the Uk

Anyone who originally enters a property with the owner`s permission is not a squatter. For example, if you rent a property and fall behind on paying rent, don`t crouch down if you continue to live there. Police have the power to enter and arrest squatters squatting in residential buildings. Squatters on residential property such as a house or apartment can be fined £5,000, six months in prison or both. Police can enter and search property to arrest a person they suspect is occupied. After that, HM Land Registry will come and inspect the property (you may have to pay a fee for this), decide if your application is valid, and then inform the owner. The landlord can still appeal your claim, but if you don`t agree, HM Land Registry can set up a court to formally decide who owns the property. It should be noted that legal fees may be incurred in this process. In September 2012, Alex Haigh became the first squatter to be imprisoned under the new law and received a 3-month sentence after occupying land owned by a housing association in London. [78] Two men were later convicted of occupying the Lamb Inn in Romford.

[79] Grow Heathrow is a busy garden and part of the transition cities movement. He was searched by the Metropolitan Police ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton`s wedding in April 2011, although police denied any connection to the wedding. [97] The social centres in Camberwell and Hackney were also searched. [98] Alleging that unnecessary and illegal preventive measures had been taken against them, the squatters sought judicial review of police tactics. [99] Grow Heathrow has had a very long battle in court and has faced several eviction attempts, most recently in February 2019, half of the site was cleaned up. [100] Finally, while there is an argument that property screening signals to squatters that a property is empty, another great benefit it offers (in addition to being extremely difficult for squatters to gain access to the property) is that security screens are completely tamper-proof and any attempt to remove them provides immediate evidence of this criminal activity of illegal trespassing. This evidence can really count in favor of homeowners when it comes to courts and insurance claims, so when it comes to protecting your vacant home from squatters, active prevention through screening and securing is a go-to option. In recent years, and despite the criminalization of squatting in 2012, people have continued for a variety of reasons, including homelessness, activism and parties.

Many cities have social centers, often with their roots in the squatter movement. The Bloomsbury Social Centre was a temporary social centre in central London. The Squatter Advisory Service continues to provide practical advice and legal support. Clarke then announced an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill that would criminalize squatting in apartment buildings. [67] In 1991, Clarke stated, “There are no valid arguments to defend the squat. This is the seizure of another`s property without consent. [68] John McDonnell noted that “the government is trying to circumvent democracy by trying to get this amendment through the back door.” [69] Seek legal advice from a respondent or lawyer if you are a squatter in a property and wish to claim ownership. It is important to know that even though squatting is not a crime, other things that squatters might do while squatting on a property are likely to be a crime. It is illegal to damage property at or after the entrance, to steal from the shelter and to use public services without paying. It`s much easier to avoid squatting in the first place than to squat on your property. Therefore, it is advisable to take steps to reduce the risk of squatters occupying your property in the first place. The amendment was called “Weatherley`s Law” [70] by Mike Weatherley and came into force on September 1, 2012, making squatting in a residential building a criminal offence with arrest, fine and imprisonment.

[71] If you were busy and no longer have a place to live, the council may be able to arrange housing or help you find housing. Many squatters legalized their homes or projects in the 1980s, for example Bonnington Square and Frestonia in London. More recently, there are still isolated examples such as the invisible circus in Bristol. The use of force to evict the squatters themselves, or the threat to evict them, is likely to be illegal and may constitute a criminal offence. Squatters have the right to object to forced trespassing, except in the case of bailiffs or law enforcement officers acting pursuant to a court order, or by the police. This right is sometimes referred to as squatters` rights. While the owner of the legal property does not have the right to attempt forced trespassing – this would actually be considered a criminal act by the owner – it is now legal for police to force entry and evict squatters, which is enforceable under a court order.