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What rights should squatters have?

09:10 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

A guide for homeowners, aimed at stopping squatters "invading" their property, is being published online. Do homeowners need more support?

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, said "Squatting is antisocial, undesirable, and unfair on home owners" and he wanted to end the "anti-social, undesirable and unfair" practice.

The guide outlines homeowners' legal options if squatters move in and is in response to websites set up to help squatters get round the law.

The Advisory Service for Squatters which provides legal and practical advice to squatters and homeless people said Mr Shapps was "scaremongering".

Should more be done to protect the rights of homeowners or are their rights adequately protected ? Have you been affected by squatting? Or are you a squatter?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Squatters are guilty of tresspass and should be prosecuted as such and there should be no such thing as squatter's rights. Can a squatter afford internet access to take part in this HYS.

  • Comment number 2.

    Basically none as regards to squatting without permission. They should not do it anyway - and must leave when told to by the owner.

    But this is different from living in a derelict house and renovating it.

    I have a little second-hand experience of both types. The first has no excuse at all - often moving in and causing damage. The second is essentially keeping a house in good repair for an absent owner without their permission.

    Both are operating without permission or paying rent and should stop doing so - though should campaign to stop the existence of long term empty houses.

  • Comment number 3.

    Of course squatters in other people's regular homes should have rights, the right to be bounced straight out onto the pavement again, the right to have deducted from their resources the costs of any damage done and compensation paid to those they have offended against and the civil, communal and legal costs involved in dealing with the problem.

    Squatters in derelict or completely unused properties might be a different kettle of fish. In a society where we have a chronic shortage of homes and worthwhile jobs for those at the lower end of the scale something has to be provided.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    None! Whatever state a building is in, it does not belong to the squatters. I never cease to be amazed thay they have rights and it can take months to get rid of them...another group who can't be bothered to work and get their own places....

  • Comment number 6.

    NONE. SIMPLES.

  • Comment number 7.

    Jail rights for breaking into your property.

  • Comment number 8.

    I fail to understand why this matter should be so complex....the fact is, squatters should have no right to take possession of a dwelling and expect to live there rent free.
    A change in the law can eradicate this problem once and for all by simply making it a criminal offence to do this. In Canada, it works. Their criminal code states that it is an offence to be "unlawfully in a dwelling house" and is treated as burglary, plain and simple. Oh...guess what....Canada does not have squatter problems.

  • Comment number 9.

    It does not more simple than this question. NO they don't have any rights.

  • Comment number 10.

    Here we go again another opportunity for Daily Mail Rug Biters to kick the "undeserving poor"

    While I have no truck at all with those who occupy others homes unlawfully and the Tories are clearly trying to portray the image that this is the normal type of squat the truth is that most squats take place in buildings that have been vacant for years and often in disused commercial premises.

    As soon as anyone has clear title to ownership of these premises under current legislation the squat becomes illegal and the squatters can be evicted forthwith.

  • Comment number 11.

    It depends what property and status of property is being squatted. There is a level of obscenity to significant property being unused and unoccupied when people are homeless on the streets but if they squatted my home I would want them out straight away. I am old and own property so perhaps I fall to that side of the argument but I also remember having no home and money and relying on the generosity of friends for a warm place to sleep. I was lucky.

  • Comment number 12.


    Homeowners need to be more rights legal on their side .. Pseudo homeowners ie Landlord less .. Indeed property should be defined as a Home or brought to let ... and should have to go through some process of due law and registration .

    THEN
    Squattering in a home should become an automatic Crime

    Squattering in an empty commercial residence an civil mater..

    Empty property should pay council tax

  • Comment number 13.

    Of course, I would never condone squatting because it is a criminal act. However, it points to a very important underlying social problem of a lack of affordable housing in this country. I can only speak from personal experience, but in the rural area where I live it is practically impossible for first-time buyers to get into the housing market. A proposed new planning development for 3000 new homes is receiving massive local opposition because babyboomer pensioners think it might spoil their view. Yet at the same time up to half of properties in outlying villages remain empty for most of the year because they are second/third homes or holiday lets. If people are driven to squat it is through desperation, the lack of any alternative, and a deep-seated feeling of social injustice.

  • Comment number 14.

    None.

  • Comment number 15.

    Only in the UK....... Land of the Loonie Left could we allow this to happen. Too much of OUR society seems to be focused on minority groups who have not intention of assisting OUR society, just taking from it. No wonder we are nearly bankrupt

  • Comment number 16.

    The Government maintain that cutting Housing Benefit will not make people homeless. Odd then that this web site should be launched at this moment in time. Of course they are expecting trouble and it looks like it will be down to the homeowners to fend for themselves. When people become desperate and they do when they are made destitute, feelings can become very volatile. Gated Communities here we come.

  • Comment number 17.

    4. At 09:48am on 08 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    It would seem that gangs of squatting immigrants are roaming the country, looking to take over any home they can squat in.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314526/Knife-wielding-Lithuanian-squatters-residents-out.html

    Who will be next? Maybe you.

    -----

    Yep, that sounds like a Daily Mail headline.


  • Comment number 18.

    The crime is not the squatters, it is the fact there are thousands of empty homes/shops/business premises up and down the country.
    Walk or drive through any inner city or "sink" estate and you will see dozens of houses boarded up, and in a poor state. Homeless people would be please for a chance to live in one.

    If people occupy what are (obviously) abandoned or disused property, then they should be allowed to stay, as long as they pay the Council Tax, electricity/gas and water bills.

    As for the illegal occupation of a Home that is currently in use, that is a whole other story, and should be dealt with swiftly.

  • Comment number 19.

    While squatting is never desirable it is a reflection of social inequality that seems to be prevalant nowadays. When changes to JSA and housing benefit come into force i suspect we`ll see an enourmous jump in squatting. So we do one of two things, allow them to squat or give them affordable housing. You can`t have it both ways.

  • Comment number 20.

    None get rid of them asap ; more important what rights do home owners have to keep these people out !!!!!!!!!!!! namby pamby state again

  • Comment number 21.

    Its time to stop the Liberal nonsence and tell people

    You have NO right to squat just as you have NO right to

    Steal my car, rob me, break into my house, rape me, kick my head in for a laugh, ETC.

    YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO ANY OF THEM !!!! shout it from the rooflights

  • Comment number 22.

    "Squatters are guilty of tresspass and should be prosecuted as such and there should be no such thing as squatter's rights. Can a squatter afford internet access to take part in this HYS."

    You cannot be prosecuted for trespass as it is a civil offence. You can only prosecuted for criminal offences.

  • Comment number 23.

    Forget squatters, what about the property owners who have bought up vast amounts of land and property and then purposely leave it unoccupied and undeveloped in order to artificially inflate the cost of buying or renting a home in the UK ?

    Why are the BBC yet again running scare stories about a tiny group of people in our society and turning them into some sort of bogey man who will come and steal your home when the facts show that in almost every case of squatting the squatters have occupied empty and abandoned buildings and that cases of family homes being occupied are so rare that they make front page news in the scummier of our tabloids whenever they occur.

    Squatting is a symptom of the housing problems we have in our country and I'd much rather see some serious action taken against the thousands of slum landlords who are pocketing millions of pounds worth of taxpayers money for renting out hovels that are unfit for human occupation or the millionaires who have bought up huge amounts of land and property in order to prevent it from being developed instead of the BBC spreading fear and mistrust about homeless people.

    Shame on the BBC !

  • Comment number 24.

    Housing is still absurdly expensive in our country, partly because successive governments have done their best to increase inflation in house prices and rents and partly due to overpopulation. If the present government wishes to prevent squatting, or phenomena such as the burning of rural "second homes" then it needs to ensure a considerable fall in prices and rents. This will involve building a few truly affordable housing (effectively council houses and flats) in just about every neighbourhood in the country. For the long term, it will also necessitate the introduction of a sensitive but effective population policy. We can only house and feed a limited number of people on our small islands. Either we have to limit the number of births or the number of people coming here to stay, or both.

  • Comment number 25.

    4. At 09:48am on 08 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    "It would seem that gangs of squatting immigrants are roaming the country, looking to take over any home they can squat in."

    And you read that where? The Daily Mail? Oh well, it MUST be true then.


  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think if most people broke into an empty property and lived there indefinitely then we would be jailed, and rightly so. Why are squatters any different?

  • Comment number 28.

    Imagine - Returning from your annual family holiday to find you house taken over by Squatters. Indeed not nice as this is exactly what happened to a friend of mine. The trouble caused by few Squatters was unbelievable. Where do you take your family already running low on finances after the holiday? Do you continue paying the mortgage for the squatters to live in?

    My opinion on this matter is that Squatters commit a crime once they trespass into your property. They should get the same treatment as any other criminal.

    http://awakeningtempest.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 29.

    Squatters should have no rights.

    Unless the law has changed in the last few years, I was under the impression that legal owner/occupiers and tenants as well as owners or tenants who had signed the paperwork but not yet moved in were already protected and that the police had a duty to remove squatters immediately. In other words if you come back from a two week holiday and find squatters in your house the police should turf them out, otherwise we will all be too afraid to go away even for a few days!.

    Where a property is unoccupied eg the owner lives elsewhere or there is no legal tenant a court order would be required.

    Long term unoccupied property, whether domestic or commercial should be brought back into use by local authorities and let on short term tenancies to people on the official homeless lists.

  • Comment number 30.

    We had tenents in our flat with a lease signed, who all of a sudden decided to stop paying the rent.
    After a year and a half legal battle, and paying out over 2.000 in legal fees, we have just had the squatters removed from our flat.
    We have had to pay 2500 in unpaid gas bills, and are waiting for the water and electricity bills to come in. we have also lost 16.000 in rent and will have to sompletely re-do the whole flat (which was brand new ) including new oven etc.

    I say that its time that landlords should be given some rights.

  • Comment number 31.

    NEVER more that the legitimate owner of the property.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    If the government really wants to help why can't squatting be made a criminal offence, as it is under Scottish Law?

    Squatters should have no rights. Everybody would love to avoid paying rent or mortgage for their accommodation. So why should a few brazen enough to do so "steal" accommodation.

    Like in most areas of "justice for victims" in the UK punishments are non-existant to mild. Anything to avoid costs to the State - don't care about the victim!!

  • Comment number 34.

    what really stumps me is how on earth did squatters get rights in the first place?

    and why on earth does it take so long to get rid of them?

  • Comment number 35.

    10. At 09:57am on 08 Nov 2010, steve wrote:
    Here we go again another opportunity for Daily Mail Rug Biters to kick the "undeserving poor"

    ..........................................................

    The " undeserving poor" who squatted three houses away from me stripped everything out the house they sell for drugs. it took months to get rid of them and it cost a fortune to repair all the damage. these people have no rights at all.

  • Comment number 36.

    A property is owned by the person who paid money for it and a person who trespasses has no moral right and should have no legal right to take it over but the lack of affordable housing is also "anti-social, undesirable and unfair" so I hope Grant Shapps will also put maximum effort into remedying that injustice too.

  • Comment number 37.

    May I suggest Mr Shapps spends his energy on devising suitable affordable house building programmes, introducing suitable rent controls and rental agreement law, controlling market rents, and simply ironing out the need for anyone to squat anywhere?

    It may not capture headlines but at least it'll be something effective rather than this silly venture.

  • Comment number 38.

    Security of ownership and sanctity of property rights are the cornerstones of modern society. If you can't enjoy cost-free, unchallengeable title to whatever you have lawfully acquired then why bother working to achieve it in the first place?
    And on the other hand, if the law allows bands of people to simply take possession of anything they want then, again, why work for anything? Simply find a nice looking house, wait for the owner/resident to go out and move in.
    It baffles me that a problem other countries just don't have has proven to be so hard to overcome here. We have had 13 years of the single, most authoritarian government in our history but this obvious area of injustice and wrongdoing is still with us.
    Why can't we simply adopt the Scottish legislation?

  • Comment number 39.

    Squatters should have no rights at all, it's the owners who should have all the rights but the law goes against the owner. Anyone squatting shold be turfed out immediatly by the police and if they do it again let them squat in jail.

  • Comment number 40.

    4. At 09:48am on 08 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:

    It would seem that gangs of squatting immigrants are roaming the country, looking to take over any home they can squat in.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314526/Knife-wielding-Lithuanian-squatters-residents-out.html

    Who will be next? Maybe you.


    A Daily Mail reader. Says it all.

  • Comment number 41.

    I applaud this Government for addressing commonsense issues & for standing up to unfairness in Society.

  • Comment number 42.

    "What rights should squatters have?":

    None - unless authorised by the local Council. Perhaps Councils should make much more of an effort in investigating the ownership / validity of empty premises - I think so...

  • Comment number 43.

    23. At 10:17am on 08 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    Forget squatters, what about the property owners who have bought up vast amounts of land and property and then purposely leave it unoccupied and undeveloped in order to artificially inflate the cost of buying or renting a home in the UK ?

    Why are the BBC yet again running scare stories about a tiny group of people in our society and turning them into some sort of bogey man who will come and steal your home when the facts show that in almost every case of squatting the squatters have occupied empty and abandoned buildings and that cases of family homes being occupied are so rare that they make front page news in the scummier of our tabloids whenever they occur.

    Squatting is a symptom of the housing problems we have in our country and I'd much rather see some serious action taken against the thousands of slum landlords who are pocketing millions of pounds worth of taxpayers money for renting out hovels that are unfit for human occupation or the millionaires who have bought up huge amounts of land and property in order to prevent it from being developed instead of the BBC spreading fear and mistrust about homeless people.

    Shame on the BBC !


    There's no better way of deflecting attention from anything than to blame the BBC.

  • Comment number 44.

    @4 ... The article isn't so much about squatting as about the practice of illegally posing as a home owner/property rental company and then tricking some poor soul into paying you rent. It's unfortunate that the crime has 2 sets of victims, the home-owners and the immigrant families who have paid good money to live in a property.

    But back to the question ... I believe there should be a process to "quick start" the eviction process where squatters have taken over a property during a temporary absence. For example - presenting a utility bill to show that the homeowner (or legal tennant) has genuinely been living in the property could result in an official police response within 24 hours.

    In parallel we need to look at how we ensure that the nation's homeless actually get a roof over their heads. Without a proper home these people face horrendous problems, from not being able to get work (because employers need to have an address for their employees) to not being able to get medical/dental treatment and a whole host of other things. They fall through the cracks and end up as a hidden band of helpless, desperate people. It's shocking that in a 1st world country in the 21st century we have such a large number of disenfranchised individuals.

    So there needs to be balance in the approach taken.

  • Comment number 45.

    A friend of mine had squatters so he camped out in the front garden ( there was no access via the back ) with two very nasty German Sheppards he borrowed from the local scrap yard, no one got in or out of the house for five days. In the end the squatters left but not before volunteering to pay the rent asked for and a contribution towards the utility bills and a damaged carpet. The dogs were called off and they left, relieved that they had not been bitten.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    Squatters are criminals and should be treated as such. The exception is where a landlord has failed to take adequate measures to rent a property that could be let.

    In this case the property owner is guilty of failing to make available a property for occurpation. At least that should be the law that government should implement. This would take away the temptation for squatters. At the sametime introduction of a simple law that says that squatters can be removed with the use of "reasonable force" would work.

    Another example of government dealing with symptoms rather than the real causes.

  • Comment number 48.

    None what so ever.

    I paid for my house and no one has a right to enter it without my permission. As for housing problems, it is up to the Goverment to sort that one out. Like cutting the number of immigrates or making sure that women do not breed like rabbits in order to get a council house.

    I personally would make it a criminal offence if anyone enter a property with the permission of the owner. With a fine of £10,000 or a long term jail sentence. It just might make them think before committing the offence.

  • Comment number 49.

    40. At 10:34am on 08 Nov 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    4. At 09:48am on 08 Nov 2010, grainsofsand wrote:

    It would seem that gangs of squatting immigrants are roaming the country, looking to take over any home they can squat in.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314526/Knife-wielding-Lithuanian-squatters-residents-out.html

    Who will be next? Maybe you.

    A Daily Mail reader. Says it all.
    ---------------------------------

    A Labour voter? - says nothing - just buries their head...

  • Comment number 50.

    It is a disgrace that the law is so helpless to stop squatting. Squatters should have no rights whatever to the property squatted or over its rightful owners. They should be immediately ejected by the police, arrested and detained whilst awaiting trial for illegal entry. If a new offence is required, let parliament create one. Squatters should be liable for all consequential financial loss to the rightful owners and for damage to the property.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    There is a chronic lack of affordable housing to rent or buy in the UK, so I have no problem with people taking over derelict or abandoned buildings, tidying them up and putting them to real use. It's scandalous how many above-shop premises and industrial units lie empty, as well as the number of people at the mercy of unscrupulous slum landlords.

    But no-one has the 'right' to move into someone else's home while they're away. The only entitlement such squatters should have ought to be five minutes to grab their things before the bailiffs turf them out.
    Such behaviour is illegal in Scotland, why not here?

  • Comment number 53.

    Squatters should have no rights whatsoever and they should be dealt with under criminal law as is the case in Scotland.

    At least Scotland has not just addressed the issue it has been dealt with as is right and proper to protect the owners of properties.

  • Comment number 54.

    22. At 10:17am on 08 Nov 2010, Dominic wrote:
    "Squatters are guilty of tresspass and should be prosecuted as such and there should be no such thing as squatter's rights. Can a squatter afford internet access to take part in this HYS."

    You cannot be prosecuted for trespass as it is a civil offence. You can only prosecuted for criminal offences.


    _____________________________________________________________
    In England. Not in Scotland where squatting is a criminal offence. Incidentally isn't breaking and entering a criminal offence? Unless you've left the door wide open how else do they get in?

    That said for all those saying "squatters should have no rights" means that if someone squats in your property you would be able to rape, torture and then kill them with impunity. Much as the Daily Mail loves this sort of thing I don't.

  • Comment number 55.

    We cant have the poor taking advantage of the rich. Think of the children!

  • Comment number 56.

    As the laws on squatting, or adverse position mainly benefit farmers and landowners ,they use this law to incorporate unused farm land into their properties, I dont see that the law will be scrapped completely. Most squatting is done in derelict buildings so I think that squatters should have increased rights as by squatting they are not competing for other forms of scarce social housing.

  • Comment number 57.

    No rights if the premises is clearly normally lived in or the ownership is in the process of being transferred (eg through an estate agents sign showing the property is empty whilst being sold).

    However where I live there are several empty properties within a minutes walk of the town centre, that have been in such a state for many years. In such cases squatters taking them over would probably benefit the community as the local council would be forced into taking action not only to empty the properties but also ensuring that either they are renovated or, demolished and a new house built on the site. No idea who the current landowners are but the buildings have been empty for so long clearly they need to be forced to care.

    Sadly the local council are more interested in building over all the local fields, and seeing villages swallowed up by towns, than ensuring existing empty properties are put to good use.

  • Comment number 58.

    Moust squatting is done in disused buildings that no one no cares about. It is not solely a foreigner related issue - let's get that straight from the start. It is a direct reflection of the imbalance in society between rich and poor and the ridiculous cost of housing which means many people cannot move into their own home until their 40's!

    If there is a problem here, which there evidently is, provide cheap/mass housing.

    Just like telling people that they need to work illegally for JSA (37% of minimum wage is illegal!), saying to people if you don't have anything "tough luck, suck it up" is just another form of killing off the poor in more acceptable ways.

    Whilst breaking into a house is totally underisable and shouldn't be condoned, we should look to re-address the problem at source. 'Stick them in jail' and 'no rights for squatters' is simply sticking your fingers in your ears to the same tune of 'stick drug users in jail for life.'

    Love and kisses from an employed home-owner.

  • Comment number 59.

    About the same rights as shoplifters. However the new all encompassing UK legal framework which states if you can get away with it thats OK will ensure all sort of ills are perpetuated.

  • Comment number 60.

    It should be possible to remove squatters in people's homes immediately, and for their occupation in these properties to be treated as a criminal offence.

    I would like to ensure that properties standing empty were made available for legal habitation unless there was a specific reason for them being vacant, such as safety issues.

  • Comment number 61.

    13. At 10:01am on 08 Nov 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    ". . . . However, it points to a very important underlying social problem of a lack of affordable housing in this country."

    Another way of viewing that would be to say that there is a surplus of people who can't afford to live here, no?

    However, I'm not entirely sure why squatters have any rights in the first place, though I am quietly confident that they can rely on regular contributors to HYS for moral, legal and financial support.

  • Comment number 62.

    "23. At 10:17am on 08 Nov 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    Forget squatters, what about the property owners who have bought up vast amounts of land and property and then purposely leave it unoccupied and undeveloped in order to artificially inflate the cost of buying or renting a home in the UK ?

    Why are the BBC yet again running scare stories about a tiny group of people in our society and turning them into some sort of bogey man who will come and steal your home when the facts show that in almost every case of squatting the squatters have occupied empty and abandoned buildings and that cases of family homes being occupied are so rare that they make front page news in the scummier of our tabloids whenever they occur.

    Squatting is a symptom of the housing problems we have in our country and I'd much rather see some serious action taken against the thousands of slum landlords who are pocketing millions of pounds worth of taxpayers money for renting out hovels that are unfit for human occupation or the millionaires who have bought up huge amounts of land and property in order to prevent it from being developed instead of the BBC spreading fear and mistrust about homeless people.

    Shame on the BBC "

    Spot on!

  • Comment number 63.

    What rights should squatters have? None.

  • Comment number 64.

    Can only happen in England. Such a stupid law, Squatter's Rights. Makes you wonder if there are also similar rights for rapists and murderers.

  • Comment number 65.

    I see that the Red Top Brigade are in with their blinkered views again. (No 10 Steve, on this site).
    So if a family break into a £900,000 whilst the owner are away on a holiday. They then declare it a squat and, under Cherie's Human Rights Law, defy all attempts to get them out and stay for five years. Because of elapsed time the property then becomes theirs but, because they are not working the state, (us), has to look after them.
    Doesn't seem right us spending your income tax on squatters, Steve.

  • Comment number 66.

    Why the difficulty?
    Just put squatting under the heading of the current breaking & entering/burglary criminal laws. The only difference is that the criminal is still in the property.
    Why is it so hard to do this?
    Failing that, roll on vigilantism, and break their legs. Ok I jest (partly), but this is what the UK's 'injustice' system is driving us towards.

  • Comment number 67.

    No rights what-so-ever they can go to prision more right there than for homeowners.

  • Comment number 68.

    It must be a primary concern and function of any government to protect the individual right to property! Squatter do not require any protection unless the owner of the property has abandoned that dwelling to the elements - in which case a 'squatter' that endeavours to protect, maintain and/or improve the property in agreement with the owner should be afforded normal tendency rights in contractual agreement with the said owner of the property!

    But if a person or group of people determine to occupy a property which belong to another individual without any agreement or fair exchange, that constitutes an act of theft and they should be prosecuted as one would prosecute any thief!


    Its not complex is it - if you steal something that belongs to me and I value it, then you are stealing!

  • Comment number 69.

    13. At 10:01am on 08 Nov 2010, RadialSymmetry wrote:
    "Of course, I would never condone squatting because it is a criminal act."

    In Scotland, yes, but not in England and Wales. That's the problem. There seem to be a lot of people here who don't understand the difference between civil and criminal offences.

  • Comment number 70.

    As per usual focusing on the symptoms rather than the cause of problems.

    Wasnt it a couple of weeks back they axed half the Social Housing budget?

    More homeless, more squatters me thinks.

  • Comment number 71.

    This debate is one sided only. Squatters can't make their point on HYS. (unless they are sitting(squatting) with a wi-fi laptop somwehere.

  • Comment number 72.

    55. At 10:47am on 08 Nov 2010, mmm wrote:
    We cant have the poor taking advantage of the rich. Think of the children!
    ..........................................................

    "the poor" who squatted three houses from me returned to their middle class familys when they grew out of their lets pretend to be poor period.

  • Comment number 73.

    The fundamental right of a human still remains - roof on your head.

  • Comment number 74.

    I really fail to see just why Squatters should have any rights when it comes to their illegal trespass of some ones property...irrespective on whether the property is derelict or ready for occupation...they are by law trespassing and thus should be fully dealt with by the courts in a legal manner...I do not believe that property owners should do what Squatter have done and taken the law into their own hands by illegal occupation of property and thus owners should leave it to the Courts and the Police to have them legally removed...it is up to the Courts and Parliament to ensure that the rights of the owners is not diminished by the illegal occupation and then the appeals procedures that Squatters go into...that should be taken away...what should be looked into is the appalling sight of thousands of homes in many council areas remaining empty when they should be seen to and occupied by those waiting on various types of waiting lists by: Councils, Housing Associations and Private Landlords...

  • Comment number 75.

    None.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    Part of the problem is that many properties in the UK have no clear owner. Probate cases can drag on for years.

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes there should be some rights for squatters but they need to be clearly defined. For instance if a property is abandoned for a specific length of time (say a year) then that is a moral crime and people in need should be able to take advantage of that neglect. It would be better if the council could take over the property for a nominal fee but that is unlikely to happen with any Tory government. They would much prefer the property owner to let the property decay and people be left without homes if the property owner has the chance of making a profit on it later.
    However anyone found in a furnished home or a property which has only just become vacant (i.e. less than a year) should be made to pay for any damage, prosecuted for illegal entry and charged double rent for any time they are in there plus there should not need to go through a legal wrangle in court to get people out it should be a simple, arrestable, criminal offence.

  • Comment number 79.

    There appears to be many posts whilst condemning squatters are linking them with insufficient housing. The two are not linked....squatting should be a criminal offence and squatters charged with that offense. If someone took my car because they didn't have one that is theft. There is no difference from stealing someone's house just because they cannot hide the house !!!

  • Comment number 80.

    "
    10. At 09:57am on 08 Nov 2010, steve wrote:

    While I have no truck at all with those who occupy others homes unlawfully and the Tories are clearly trying to portray the image that this is the normal type of squat the truth is that most squats take place in buildings that have been vacant for years and often in disused commercial premises.
    "

    Steve, you miss the point, which is - it does not belong to them. Your brain is vacant and disused for years, do you thing that someone should be allowed to come long and take that too?

  • Comment number 81.

    No rights whatsoever.

    I recommend that if you do find yourself the victim of squatters, don't involve the Police or courts. Instead, go to your local council estate and find some pipe hitting homies and employ them to remove the problem for you... :-)

  • Comment number 82.

    63. At 11:05am on 08 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    What rights should squatters have? None.


    So squatting becomes a capital offence with no right to trial and no appeal? Thats what "NO rights" means. In effect a return to the medieval concept of outlaw.

  • Comment number 83.

    "
    64. At 11:05am on 08 Nov 2010, matt-stone wrote:

    Can only happen in England. Such a stupid law, Squatter's Rights. Makes you wonder if there are also similar rights for rapists and murderers.
    "

    There are, like the rights of the killers of Jamie Bulger to live a protected life at the tax payers expense.

  • Comment number 84.

    Squatting is without doubt a form of stealing. What right have these people to squat in property belonging to other people. Make it an offence to squat and lock them all up. Who do these people think they are? If I owned another home which I have worked hard to purchase, and some layabouts decided to squat in that home, I would feel justified to go in the place and remove them by force. It is about time property owners were protected from the scum of this country.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ #15 Auntie-Left

    "Only in the UK....... Land of the Loonie Left could we allow this to happen. Too much of OUR society seems to be focused on minority groups who have not intention of assisting OUR society, just taking from it. No wonder we are nearly bankrupt"
    --------------------------------

    Er no, youve got that wrong. Were bankrupt because of

    1: Rich, British bankers that have stolen £180 billion off the tax payer and now hide that money in off shore tax havens, massive estates, fast cars and huge bonuses.

    2: An illegal war thats killed hundreds of our troops and thousands of innocent civilians and cost an estimated £1.5 trillion to date.

    I know youd like to believe its all the fault of a few foreigners and Rupert Murdoch tells you what to think anyway, but the fact is that the real culprits that have bankrupted this country laugh their heads off everytime they see someone like you come up with that.

    Lets them off the hook again.

    Dont let the truth get in the way of good old xenophobia though.


  • Comment number 86.

    "
    77. At 11:19am on 08 Nov 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    Part of the problem is that many properties in the UK have no clear owner. Probate cases can drag on for years.
    "

    Then really after a time the property reverts back to the state ownership.

  • Comment number 87.

    la propriété, c'est le vol!
    “Thus, property, which should make us free, makes us prisoners. What am I saying? It degrades us, by making us servants and tyrants to one another." Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 - 1865 )

  • Comment number 88.

    79. At 11:20am on 08 Nov 2010, emcoluk wrote:

    There appears to be many posts whilst condemning squatters are linking them with insufficient housing. The two are not linked....squatting should be a criminal offence and squatters charged with that offense. If someone took my car because they didn't have one that is theft. There is no difference from stealing someone's house just because they cannot hide the house !!!

    ---------------

    Sorry. How are they not linked?

    If a person has a house already, what is gained by squatting in what is most likely to be a disused building in an (industrial) estate?

    Have you even thought about why people squat? It's not exactly a life of luxury you know...

    ...Aside from the Queen of course, seeing as the tax-payer owns her property.

  • Comment number 89.

    65. At 11:06am on 08 Nov 2010, Peter Buck wrote:
    I see that the Red Top Brigade are in with their blinkered views again. (No 10 Steve, on this site).
    So if a family break into a £900,000 whilst the owner are away on a holiday. They then declare it a squat and, under Cherie's Human Rights Law, defy all attempts to get them out and stay for five years. Because of elapsed time the property then becomes theirs but, because they are not working the state, (us), has to look after them

    -------

    All tabloid inspired myths and rubbish.

    If squatters break into a family home then its extreemely likely that they will be guilty of breaking and entering and face criminal charges and immediate eviction. (if they use gas, electricity or water whilst in the property, they may also be guilty of theft).

    The vast majority of squatters are in either derelict residential homes or unused commercial premises which they can access without breaking in.

    The Human Rights Act has nothing to say about squatters, the law which sqatters used to use to claim property after 12 years occupancy (not 5) is known as 'adverse possesion' and dates from around the reign of Henry VIII.

    That law was ammended in the early part of this century so that squatters can no longer claim posession of private registered property, regardless of length of occupancy.

    So, the long and the short of it is ,although squatters can be a problem for commercial landlords or those who inherit derelict property which they wish to 'do up' most of the specific concerns and accusations being made by people about family homes being taken over are just tabloid rubbish.

  • Comment number 90.

    Absolutely none whatsoever. We could, however, let them squat in prison. I've heard prison sounds like a cushy number nowadays!

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    "
    82. At 11:22am on 08 Nov 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    So squatting becomes a capital offence with no right to trial and no appeal? Thats what "NO rights" means.
    "

    Seems fair to me, but then I'm not the one in the wrong.

  • Comment number 93.

    It is difficult to imagine that a question such as this can even be asked. How can anyone have the 'right' to illegally move into someone else's home? What right does anyone have to steal property? For any reason. Much less do it at knife point. I suppose there could be other countries in the world where theft of property is allowed but none spring to mind. This is theft, pure and simple, and the police and the government should treat it as such.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    86. At 11:25am on 08 Nov 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    "
    77. At 11:19am on 08 Nov 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    Part of the problem is that many properties in the UK have no clear owner. Probate cases can drag on for years.
    "

    Then really after a time the property reverts back to the state ownership.



    _______________________________________________________
    Eventually. By which time the roof can have failed, the flooring is rotten and no-one wants it. There are dozens of properties a few miles up the road from me like this and no-one seems to be responsible for their (lack of) upkeep. Daily Mail headlines apart its properties in this sort of situation that are usually squatted in, not family homes while the owners pop down to Tesco.

  • Comment number 96.

    10. At 09:57am on 08 Nov 2010, steve wrote:
    Here we go again another opportunity for Daily Mail Rug Biters to kick the "undeserving poor"

    ..........................................................

    The " undeserving poor" who squatted three houses away from me stripped everything out the house they sell for drugs. it took months to get rid of them and it cost a fortune to repair all the damage. these people have no rights at all.

    -------------
    Thanks for editing out the rest of my contribution which clearly said I supported your position regarding residential property and it was the long term unoccupied primarily commercial property that I was referring to!

  • Comment number 97.

    "
    87. At 11:27am on 08 Nov 2010, DoleBoy wrote:

    la propriété, c'est le vol!
    “Thus, property, which should make us free, makes us prisoners. What am I saying? It degrades us, by making us servants and tyrants to one another." Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 - 1865 )
    "

    Typical socialist tripe from a Marxist anarchist (Pierre-Joseph Proudhon), or as we say today, a lunatic.

  • Comment number 98.

    None.

    If it's not your house, and you're not paying rent, you can't live in it. Easy.

  • Comment number 99.

    this must be a joke, luckily i live in scotland where it is a criminal offence to 'squat' but if it werent i can assure you, if i turned up to my empty home and found people squating, it would probably take me 10 minutes to ensure they were removed and they would be given the option on how they would like to be removed again if i found them back inside. I f i pay for something and then someone choses to take this from me its called theft, i would not take any legal route, costing me money i would take the human approach and i can assure you they wouldnt get a second chance to re enter.

  • Comment number 100.

    ----------------------
    Moust squatting is done in disused buildings that no one no cares about. It is not solely a foreigner related issue - let's get that straight from the start. It is a direct reflection of the imbalance in society between rich and poor and the ridiculous cost of housing which means many people cannot move into their own home until their 40's!

    If there is a problem here, which there evidently is, provide cheap/mass housing.

    Just like telling people that they need to work illegally for JSA (37% of minimum wage is illegal!), saying to people if you don't have anything "tough luck, suck it up" is just another form of killing off the poor in more acceptable ways.

    Whilst breaking into a house is totally underisable and shouldn't be condoned, we should look to re-address the problem at source. 'Stick them in jail' and 'no rights for squatters' is simply sticking your fingers in your ears to the same tune of 'stick drug users in jail for life.'

    Love and kisses from an employed home-owner.

    -------------------------

    excellent post. I am glad to see there are still rational people who are willing to look past the tabloids' scaremongering.

 

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