Friday, 31 August 2012

New Squatting Law a crime in itself

You've probably seen the papers by now trumpeting how the government are going to make squatting a criminal offence

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367433/Squatting-crime-Police-able-turf-intruders.html

However, I would suggest that the reasons for this new law are political, social and economic.

Taken from the direct.gov website section on squatting: Link

If you live in your home or are about to
If you currently live in your home and come back to find squatters who won’t leave, this would make you a ‘displaced residential occupier’. You should call the police to report a crime.
If you are planning to move into a property, but are not currently living there you may be considered a ‘protected intending occupier’. You can read Section 12A of the Criminal Law Act 1977 for definitions of protected intending occupiers, but if you are unsure, you should contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
It is a crime (except in certain circumstances) for a person to trespass on a residential premises (eg enter into someone’s home without authority) and refuse to leave once a displaced residential occupier, a protected intending occupier or someone on their behalf has required them to.
If you are a protected intending occupier, you’ll need to give the squatter a statement or certificate as required by section 12A of the Criminal Law Act 1977 that shows you are the rightful occupier. Once you call the police, they may decide to arrest the squatters.
So there you have it. For people who find that they return from holiday or come back from work and find that people have moved into their property then a crime has been committed. This also covers people who might have bought a house and are planning to move in. Direct from the direct.gov website - This is a crime.

Let's repeat that for any Daily Mail readers who might be reading.

For people who find that they return from holiday or come back from work and find that people have moved into their property then a crime has been committed. This also covers people who might have bought a house and are planning to move in.

These stories that you see in the papers about a 'family of Romanian gypsies' who take over people's houses is scaremongering xenophobic crap. It comes down to ignorance on the part of the police and an unwillingness of the government to provide guidance. I would perhaps suggest that this has been the case just so that new laws can be brought in to meet a few government desires. I mean:
  • Property speculators who buy property and leave it empty hoping to cash in when house prices rise get legal protection
  • Wealthy people who decide they want seven homes when many have none get legal protection
  • Landlords who wish to see a shortage of affordable housing so that rental prices continue to rise get a fillup
  • Councils and housing associations who would love to be able to push up the rental cost of social housing, either to bring in more cash or to make the stock more valuable as an asset to buy, sell or trade
  • Tories, Lib Dems and other nutjobs who get some sort of gratification in seeing the homeless, poor and underclass get a kicking from the authorities.
Everyone's a winner, almost.