A new crime of squatting has been proposed by Justice Minister Crispin Blunt.
This proposal is the first ever to suggest making squatting an offence; it outlines abolishing squatters rights and makes it very clear that persistent squatting offenders should be sent to prison.
Justice Minister Crispin Blunt says; 'Far too many people have to endure the misery, expense and incredible hassle of removing squatters from their property. Hard working home and business owners need and deserve a justice system where their rights come first’. 'Today’s consultation is a first step to achieving this. I am clear that the days of so-called ‘squatters’ rights’ must end and squatters who break the law receive a proper punishment.'
Along with making squatting an offence, sending persistent offenders to prison and abolishing squatters rights; the proposal also suggests to expand existing offences so that business property owners have the same level of protection as displaced homeowners; and to work with the enforcement authorities to help ensure squatters are prosecuted for any other offences they commit – for example criminal damage, burglary or using electricity without permission. The consultation paper asks for the public’s views on a range options for overhauling outdated laws, some of which date back to the 1970s.
John Boyle, Managing Director of HomeLet says; “Squatting has been a big problem for landlords for a long time now. Removing squatters and unauthorised occupants can be a very stressful, expensive and time consuming process. The news of this proposal will be music to landlord’s ears; squatters have had too many rights for far too long and these proposed changes can’t come soon enough”.
John Boyle continues, “HomeLet understands the risks that landlords face with the current squatter regulations. This is why we have created a range of products and services to help prevent the risks of problem tenants and squatters. We can offer landlords thorough referencing products, help with guaranteeing their rent, and also an eviction service to remove unwanted tenants and squatters.”