New squatting law

The Spectator asks: “Was the new squatting law necessary?”

Absolutely. You’re aware, of course, that councils are steadily working their way through tenants, evicting them if they have one more room than necessary and forcing them to board with other people the council deems are compatible.

Couple this with the coming crash – people are dropping off the edge as we write, losing jobs and therefore homes, going onto the dole and therefore also onto housing benefit and thus there’s going to be intense pressure on accommodation.

Helping this are the insane zoning laws and refusal to release new areas for development, plus searching for and clearing out any in makeshift accommodation.

This, of course, will mean rentals in general will go sky high and as the majority won’t be able to afford them, there’ll be a hell of a lot of squatting. Where? In vacated premises of course. Therefore the government sees it as essential to get this legislation through to hit these people as hard as possible and turn them into criminals.

This has been behind much of the passing of so many laws since Labour came to power and the Condems followed suit.  It’s the Soviet tactic of old – criminalize your population and though you have no real intention of prosecuting in most cases, you do now have the legal right to at any time for any who get uppity..

The government is not your friend.

16 Responses to “New squatting law”

  1. Wolfie August 31, 2012 at 20:37 Permalink

    We were discussing this over lunch today, there is something mysterious about this change in legislation and it smells ugly.

  2. Sackerson August 31, 2012 at 20:41 Permalink

    I second Wolfie. The news gave me a why-now feeling.

  3. Jim August 31, 2012 at 21:20 Permalink

    This is one of the few decent things this government have enacted. It was intolerable that criminals could break into your house and deny access to you, the legal owner, and be immune from the law. If I deny you access to other types of your possessions (cars/TVs/money etc) the law tends to take a dim view of it. Why should one’s home be any different?

  4. Penseivat August 31, 2012 at 21:21 Permalink

    Squatting is classed as the same civil offence of trespassing, providing no damage is caused in gaining entry to premises – amazing that thousands of unoccupied houses have windows left open! In my area, people selling houses will not have ‘For Sale’ or ‘Sold’ signs outside as professional squatters will just wait until the seller moves out, they find a convenient ‘open window, change the locks and then use someone else’s equity for their own personal benefit, neither paying for it or maintaining it. Successive governments have claimed that it was not necessary to change the law as there is a recognised civil procedure to follow – which invariably costs the owner of the property a substantial amount. But, hey, ho, that is no concern of central Government. Until, that is, an unnamed Minister received a call that the property he (through the expenses procedures for politicians) had paid thousands on updating was now being enjoyed by a group of Romanian refugees. Several thousands of pounds later (not claimable, what a bugger!) he gained access to his property and then had to pay thousands more (again, not claimable – what is a man to do?), to re-renovate it. Shortly after this, a change in the law is announced. Funny that!

  5. Sackerson August 31, 2012 at 21:28 Permalink

    Which minister would that be? Do tell!

  6. Penseivat August 31, 2012 at 23:10 Permalink

    It’s not Vince Cable!

  7. ivan September 1, 2012 at 00:01 Permalink

    Allow me to ask a question. How many of you that are against this new law have been squatted?

    It is all right to be against it from ones armchair, it is a totally different matter when you are on the receiving end. No I don’t have direct experience but one of my cousins has. He and his wife spent two weeks holiday visiting various relatives. While they were away their house was broken into and squatted. It took them 4 months to get it back and then they had to essentially gut the place and rebuild. They never got things like computers, the TV, kitchen appliances etc. back so had to replace them as well.

    If this law had been in place then they would not have lost their belongings and had to do a complete rebuild of the interior.

    Only when you have been through something like that do you have the experience to pontificate on the matter.

  8. CherryPie September 1, 2012 at 00:04 Permalink

    I also learned this evening that councils are trying to fob of land they don’t want to maintain onto residents that live next door to it…

    Crazy but true!

  9. Twisted Root September 1, 2012 at 02:08 Permalink

    Either private property rights are respected or they aren’t. Squatting is essentially theft of a house for a period of time regardless of the needs of the squatter or availability of the property.

    The situation until now has protected no one except the authorities who have the legal obligation to find housing for the homeless. Squatting and the encouragement and de facto endorsement of it by those same authorities relieved them of their obligations to the detriment of private property rights. I see no downside or hidden conspiracy behind this law.

    Even better would be a dramatic relaxation of zoning and planning regulations slashing the price of building land and making home building and ownership available to all. (Do not confuse this with the weasel politician’s term ‘affordable housing’).

  10. JuliaM September 1, 2012 at 05:28 Permalink

    I’m with Jim and Penseivat – this is long overdue, and the one decent thing the government has done so far.

  11. James Higham September 1, 2012 at 08:16 Permalink

    Thanks, people. The alternative view – yours – is scheduled for 11:00 this morning, from Seaside Sourpuss.

  12. Seaside Sourpuss September 1, 2012 at 11:43 Permalink

    Yeah, that’s me.
    James, I hope you don’t mind me saying, although your post does kind of come across with more than a little ‘infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me/us’ you do raise some valid points.

    Sadly, My personal opinion has taken hold. I rent my house privately, it is paid partly by my wages, and partly by housing benefit.

    If someone strolled into my house, through an open door, and tried to claim squatters rights because they believed the Government was trying to engineer some kind of secret coup and the squatter was only taking and trashing my home because they felt they were marginalised etc. Well I’d still kick them all in the fucking face, and throw them through the nearest fucking window. I’d just do it with a deeper understanding of what it’s like to try and cope with being a fucking scrounger when the rest of the world is doing its best to earn a fucking living.

  13. Seaside Sourpuss September 1, 2012 at 11:46 Permalink

    Wow, that was rude, I thought I had blanked out my rude words. Sorry folks x

  14. Mark in Mayenne September 1, 2012 at 12:50 Permalink

    Rock on, Sourpuss!

  15. James Higham September 1, 2012 at 13:14 Permalink

    The most important thing is for both opinions to be put and yours is equally if not more valid. Niceties and rudeness don’t come into it.

    I don’t even know where you were being rude, to be honest. Please, I entreat you – don’t ever blank out your “rude words” because then you”d be banal and that’s no use to anyone. Always say what you think and as you do anyway, back them up with facts. :)

  16. C H Ingoldby September 1, 2012 at 13:45 Permalink

    The government is not ‘turning squatters into criminals’, what the government is finally doing is recognising that squatters are criminals.

    You can whine and bitch about how nasty councils are in not giving everyone ‘free’ housing but that doesn’t justify people breaking into peoples homes.

    What squatters do is totally wrong and this is a good law.

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