Under Government plans squatting will change from a civil offence to a criminal offence, boosting the rights of homeowners who find they have people living in their property without permission.
The Daily Telegraph is claiming the move as a victory for its 'Stop the Squatters' campaign.
Currently squatting is a civil offence against the landlord or owner of the property. This basically means it's unlawful but not illegal. Once inhabiting a property, squatters can claim 'squatters' rights'.
In most cases property owners have to go to a civil court to get a possession order to evict squatters. However, this can take several weeks or months and cost thousands of pounds in legal fees. Landlords who use force to evict squatters can face criminal proceedings.
Squatting appears to be on the increase. Film director Guy Ritchie became one of the best known victims when squatters moved into his £6m mansion in London after it was renovated.
The group, who call themselves The Really Free School, gave other squatters advice on squatting as well as using public transport for free. The gang used the social networking site Twitter to encourage more people to move into the building.
Fortunately for Ritchie and hundreds of other homeowners who find themselves in similar positions, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has announced plans to make squatting illegal in England and Wales (it already is in Scotland). Under the new law squatting will become a criminal offence meaning police will be allowed to force entry and arrest anyone illegally occupying a property.
Immigration Act revised 2016 should a landlord or letting agent fail to ensure ALL tenants/occupiers have a righto reside for the duration of the tenancy then they may be fined £3000 for each breach. The Secretary of State may instruct the landlord to remove such persons without the need of a court order by way of reasonable force
Labour market enforcement - restriction on illegal migrants to work. A labour market enforcement undertaking (an “LME undertaking”) is an undertaking by the person giving it (the “subject”) to comply with any prohibitions, restrictions and requirements set out in the undertaking
Under section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 it is possible for the Court to transfer a matter from the County Court to the High Court for enforcement but leave (permission) of the Court is required first. The transfer time varies from court to court and can take up to 28 days, but normally takes far less. An application to seek permission can be made either at the time of making the possession claim or after possession has been ordered.