Squatters’ Rights Rescinded as Squatting becomes criminal offence

Squatters’ Rights Rescinded as Squatting becomes criminal offence

As from 1st September, squatting in a residential property becomes a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for six months and/or a fine of £5,000.00.
Squatting, as described by Wikipedia, is the occupation of an abandoned or unoccupied building/area of land which the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.
The new offence is part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  The changes to the law mean that property owners are no longer required to ask the squatters to leave before being in a position to involve the Police.  The Police will now have a specific duty to gain entry to the property and arrest anyone suspected of squatting.  
“Squatters Rights” notices can now be ignored as the new offence makes their occupation a criminal act.
Residential tenants who make no effort to pay rent, yet remain in occupation will still be subject to the usual eviction proceedings.
Those squatters who took up occupation of an empty building/area of land prior to 1st September will be exempt from prosecution as the offence will not apply retrospectively.
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