It has become known that the new law, criminalising squatting in residential properties will come into effect on September 1st 2012, in just over a weeks time. You can now see the commencement order on the government’s website here.
Not everyone who is squatting, or considered by others to be squatting, will be affected by the new law, but people will need to be prepared to explain, quite forcefully at times, why they are not affected.
The wording of S144 (the new law) starts: (1) A person commits an offence if— (a) the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser, (b) the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and (c) the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period. (2) The offence is not committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or licence (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building).
So squatting is still legal in non-residential properties. A building is defined as ‘residential’ if it is “designed or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live”.
You are also not committing an offence if you have, or have had a tenancy or licence to live in the property, if you are not living or intending to live in the property, or if you don’t have any way to know you are a trespasser (in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this).
If you believe you are going to be affected by the new law, but plan not to leave your current home, please get in touch as soon as possible with firstname.lastname@example.org. The first phase of commencement will be essential in defining what exactly the new laws mean, and we will try to help you get advice and support.
For more information, please see the ASS website. If you are based in London, you can contact the Eviction Resistance Network for support in resisting eviction – email@example.com or text “add” to 07591415860.
This blog was re-posted from the ASS website