News

Squatters’ rights: the end of the road?

  • September 13, 2012
  • By Hunters Law

The new offence of squatting in a residential building came into force on 1st September 2012 under section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Under the previous legal framework, squatting in itself was not a criminal offence. The property owner typically had to apply for a possession order or an interim possession order in order to evict the occupiers, potentially a lengthy and expensive remedy.

However, since the beginning of September, a person commits an offence if they are a knowing trespasser living or intending to live in a residential property. The onus on removing squatters has therefore moved from the property owner taking civil action via the courts to the police.

The change in the law reflects the government’s wish to end the “untold misery in eviction, repair and clean-up costs”, described by Justice Minister Crispin Blunt as he marked the introduction of the new offence. The increased protection has been granted to all owners of vacant residential properties, however owners of non-residential buildings will still need to use the civil procedure to obtain a possession order to evict squatters.

No offence will be committed by a person who remains in occupation after the end of a lease or licence, even if that person leaves the property and then re-enters it.  Therefore, landlords will not be able to use the new offence to evict tenants who stay on after the end of their lease, and will need to apply for a possession order instead.

Related News

May 04, 2021
Scott Battram examines the London and South East property market in 2020 and provides predictions for 2021
Apr 14, 2021
Peter Robinson discusses the practical issues arising from registration of land as a Town and Village Green (“TVG”)
Mar 24, 2021
Peter Robinson has been featured in the 2021 Spear’s Property Advisers Index
Feb 08, 2021
Peter Robinson discusses Indexation Based Rent Reviews
Jan 19, 2021
Peter Robinson comments on what new and existing landlords need to know in RBS HomeWise
Jan 04, 2021
Peter Robinson discusses The Supreme Court’s decision in Alexander Devine Children’s Cancer Trust v Housing Solutions Ltd
Dec 11, 2020
Hunters retains Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation
Nov 12, 2020
Peter Robinson examines the government’s ban on evictions of commercial tenants during the pandemic and what commercial landlords should consider in The Law Society
Nov 12, 2020
Ben Gurluk comments on the Stamp Duty holiday in the Daily Express
Oct 30, 2020
Peter Robinson examines a recent Supreme Court case that is relevant for property investors in the challenging environment of the retail property market in Lawyer Monthly

© Hunters Law LLP 2021 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)