Can squatting be justified?

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

First of all, note that ‘Squatting’ here means as in occupying empty/abandoned places.

In England and Wales, squatting had been LEGAL until the 1st September 2012.

Squatting in a residential building in England and Wales will become a criminal offence on Saturday, meaning squatters could face jail or a fine.

Ministers said it would offer better protection for homeowners and “slam shut the door on squatters once and for all”.

The maximum penalty will be six months in jail, a £5,000 fine, or both.

But campaigners warned the new law could criminalise vulnerable people and lead to an increase in rough sleeping.

Before the new law was implemented on the 1st September 2012, Section 6 Criminal Law Act 1977 stated;

THAT we live in this property, it is our home and we intend to stay here.

THAT at all times there is at least one person in this property.

THAT any entry or attempt to enter into this property without our permission is a criminal offence as any one of us who is in physical possession is opposed to entry without our permission.

THAT if you attempt to enter by violence or by threatening violence we will prosecute you. You may receive a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

THAT if you want to get us out you will have to take out a summons for possession in the County Court or in the High Court, or produce to us a written statement or certificate in terms of S.12A Criminal Law Act, 1977 (as inserted by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994).

THAT it is an offence under S.12A (8) Criminal Law Act 1977 (as amended) to knowingly make a false statement to obtain a written statement for the purposes of S. 12A. A person guilty of such an offence may receive a sentence of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Signed

The Occupiers

N.B. Signing this Legal warning is optional. It is equally valid whether or not it is signed.

It basically means that squatters are legally occupying the place and it is against the law to enter the premisses without their permission, and if you do so you may be prosecuted.

From the landlord’s point of view, this is such a ridiculous law.

Imagine – wake up one morning and notice your property has been occupied by people you do not even know, and the law and police cannot do anything about it.

On the other hand, squatters may think there is noone living in the place, they do not possess anywhere to live, and it is legal to occupy the place. Why not!?

I understand both views.

I squatted last summer before the new law was implemented, however I do not solely take squatters’ side.

You might consider squatters as dirty, drug addicts, alcoholic, violent, loud etc.

It would be a lie if I say that’s not true at all. I know a few who are discribed like that, but please bear in mind that not all the squatters are ‘dirty, drug addicts, alcoholic, violent, loud etc.’

One interesting case;

There is an empty shop in my local area, and a few people have started to squat there.

It has been empty for ages, because noone was willing to rent and open a bussiness.

The landlord and his solicitor noticed the place was occupied by squatters.

Luckly, they’ve found out that those people are rather ‘nice’ squatters who take care of the place and try to make it look nice as their ‘home’.

The landlord and his solicitor notified to the squatters that they WANT them to stay in the premisses, since it is costly to hire security staff.

They thought it would be better (in terms of cost and security) if they let the nice people to squat their place.

The situation has got better and the relation between the landlord side and the squatters seems to be comfortable.

Of course, this is a very very rare case and as I’ve said no all the squatters are nice people for sure.

The thing I’d like to mention is that whether the new law actually prevents squatters to occupy a place or not.

Or, as BBC reports, is the situation getting worse?

I’ve talked to few squatters after the implemation of  new law, and apparenty it is way harder to find a place to squat.

The thing is though, because commercial buildings can legaly be squatted, it is more likely that they squat in high streets and noticible places.

I’ve seen a big tall business building (ex-clothes shop) squatted by a few right next to the shop that is still alive (in the sense that there is a business in the shop.)

Imagine – your shop is next to a squat – you may worry that the number of your customers might decline.

The new law is not only bad for those people but also squatters.

According to The Empty Homes Agency, there are an estimated 870,000 empty homes
in the UK, and SSentif said some 50,290 families and individuals were classed as homeless in
2011/12, up from 40,020 in 2009/10.

It is probably enough to allocate homeless people in the empty houses in the UK.

The world is f**ked up…

Finally, I leave an article from BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19408949

The new law is bad for tax payers…?

As a conclusion, it is hard to decide squatting can be justified or not…

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