Collective Redundancy Consultation Changes23rd April 2013
The provisions of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 20...
Legal Aid Changes23rd April 2013
The well publicised changes to the legal aid system are now in effect. These changes mean that legal...
Squatting finally becomes illegal24th August 2012
From the beginning of next month, squatting will become a criminal offence.
Home owners, and particularly landlords whose properties are not always occupied, will surely welcome this news. Recent figures suggested that the act of squatting was on the increase. Until now anyone guilty of squatting was not actually guilty of a criminal offence, although squatting has always been a civil offence. All of that though is about to change when on the First of September 2012 it will be made a criminal offence.
There has for some time been pressure from Landlords and property owners generally that firmer action was required. There was even a high profile campaign presented to Parliament in April 2011 highlighting the rise in squatting and the consequences of it to homeowners. Often they would be faced with significant legal hurdles and expense which was rarely recoverable before being able to evict the squatters. Thankfully the government has now decided to act.
On some occasions squatting has even involved the use of organised criminal gangs who have been known to travel great distances to engage in squatting, until now knowing they would be protected by the law.
Under the new law, squatters could face up to a £5,000 fine and a six month prison sentence if they take up residence in another persons property.
However despite the changes to the law Landlords are being warned not to become complacent. Landlords would still be well advised to avoid long periods where properties stand empty and ensure that they invest in good preventative security measures.
The new law will hopefully help to reduce the instances of squatting but will obviously not help to eradicate it altogether. However for the first time there are tougher measures to deal with those who engage in squatting and it will hopefully prevent landlords and home owners having to enter into lengthy and expensive legal cases.
The new law will not however apply to commercial premises only residential buildings. However a residential building may be a temporary or movable structure, and a building will be classed as residential if it is designed as a place to live.
Not everyone has welcomed the news. Charities and other campaigners have complained that the measure, contained in the Government's Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill, will criminalise the homeless and add to the numbers living on the streets.