URGENT Squatting consultation - draft available online for you to adapt & send in before consultation deadline
mark at tlio.org.uk
mark at tlio.org.uk
Tue Oct 4 19:42:53 BST 2011
To respond to the Ministry of Justice Consultation Paper “Options for
dealing with squatting” by 5pm Wednesday 5th October (consultation
- Go to
and fill in 4 short 5 minute consultation questions
(The full consultation asks a set of 22 questions. Squash have picked
out the four most relevant questions and have provided them in a form
on the above url).
OR, BECAUSE THERE IS LITTLE TIME LEFT, DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Copy paste the draft response from the Squatters Housing Action
Group website and adapt it/add your own sentences, then send to:
squatting.consultation at justice.gsi.gov.uk
The Squatters Housing Action Group website is:
(full text of this draft response copied below AT FOOTER OF THIS
- Read some of the key extracts from Chapter-7's response to the
Government Consultation highlighted below. (full response was sent out
on this list 2 days ago).
Further sources of information:
Advisory Service for Squatters' response to the consultation here:
Here are some key extracts from Chapter-7’s response to the Ministry
of Justice Consultation Paper “Options for dealing with squatting”:
“The response of Chapter 7 to the Paragraph 3 of the Foreward also
illustrates our 3rd area of concern: that the paper occasionally makes
assumptions and draws conclusions without providing any supporting
The government is no doubt entitled to refuse to “accept the claim
that is sometimes made that squatting is a reasonable recourse of the
homeless resulting from social deprivation”. But such a sweeping
conclusion requires rather more in its support than the next sentence
which states only that there are “other avenues open to those who are
genuinely destitute and who need shelter which do not involve
occupying someone else’s property”. There are nearly always
alternatives to a given course of action and the fact that these
alternatives exist cannot in itself negate the reasonableness of that
course of action – otherwise all the alternatives would be
Squatting has remained a non-criminal activity for many years suggest
that there are some aspects or kinds of squatting which deserve
protection. If this protection is overturned on the grounds that
squatting is no longer a reasonable recourse, then this should be
evidence based. Yet the consultation paper acknowledges in paragraph
11, that “there is no data held by central government about the number
of people who squat or their reasons for doing so”
The leeway traditionally allowed for squatting serves a dual purpose.
It prevents the pointless criminalisation of people who (provided they
are occupying unoccupied property and are causing no criminal damage)
are causing no harm; and it exerts a necessary pressure on landowners
and the state to ensure that property is not left unoccupied for
It is Chapter-7’s view that it would be socially beneficial if the
current legal position were adjusted to give slightly more advantage
to squatters. In 1973, a possession order was granted against a squat
in Butt Road, Colchester, but the judge, influenced by a judgement in
another court 2 weeks earlier, suspended the execution of the
possession order until the owners – Colchester Borough Council –
demonstrated that they needed the buildings, building which had lain
derelict for a number of years. However, the original judgement went
to the Court of Appeal where Lord Denning ruled that the courts did
not have the discretion to suspend possession orders once granted. It
is Chapter-7s’ view that Lord Denning’s judgement, however legally
correct, is socially unhelpful and should be altered by statute. A
more equitable and constructive balance between the rights of
occupiers and the rights of property owners would allow the courts to
suspend a possession order until the owners could demonstrate to the
courts that the building was needed, espcially in cases where
occupation served to protect and improve buildings that have no active
plans to be demolished and are being left empty for purely speculative
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: john stag <squattersactiongroup at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: finished consultation that others can copy paste and add
their own sentence then send.needs copy of 1-2 done ones on website
To: biff at riseup.net, monkeyboyandmojo at yahoo.co.uk,
steve at thesynergycentre.org, Groundswell <info at groundswell.org.uk>,
fin at poivron.org, info at accessallareas.org
Q 1. Is squatting a particular problem in your area and where does it
occur the most, e.g. in residential or non-residential property? Were
these properties empty/abandoned/derelict before they were
occupied, or were they in use?
-squatting is not a problem, ‘the problem is not squatting, the
problem is empty buildings’.
-squatting is a solution for many street homeless people.
-Many properties have been squatted after being left empty, often for
many years, in my area, -squatters have improved empty properties and
been a positive contribution to an area or community.
-I would like to dispel the myth about people squatting homes that are
already lived in.
This is already covered by the Displaced Residential occupier law,
which can remove someone from a home residence immediately.
I live in London
Q2 Please provide any evidence you have gathered on the number of
squats and the nature of squatting in your area or nationwide?
There are many many squats in London
Most squats are in empty abandoned and derelict buildings that are
occupied improved and repaired.
Many squatters get on with their neighbours and improve/bring life
back to derelict areas.
Most are for peoples desperate need for accommodation and housing,
however some are also community, project,art or social centres, that
provide life and low cost support/workshops to the areas
they are in.
Q3 Do you have any data or other information on the demographic
profile of people who squat – e.g. do they share any of the protected
characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability,
gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and
maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation)? Do
they live alone or with others?
All ages ,races and cultures,squat out of urgent need,some are old and
disabled,also families young children ,pregnant women,many from
disadvantaged backgrounds or minority groups. Most live in larger
family groups and help each other.,creating their own support network.
The importance of squatting to the homeless is massive it provides a
safety net when all other routes have failed. It is often undertaken
in desperation and is carried out for basic survival.
-It provides for the hidden homeless estimated to be up to half a
million by Crisis.
Q4 Do you think the current law adequately deals with squatting?
Please explain your reasons.
- The law is more than ‘adequate’, we need greater rights for
squatters – for example, ‘legalise squatting to prevent the
dereliction of buildings’.
A Solution could be link up empty property owners with the homeless
and groups willing to recycle and repair derelict abandoned buildings
creating employment and accommodation.
With 725,000 empty buildings in the UK (according to the Empty Homes
Agency ) there is no need to make any changes as the current law is
adequate because – ‘owners who use their property as their own place
of residence – i.e. displaced residential occupiers (DROs) – are
already adequately protected by section 7 of the Criminal Law Act 1977
(DROs and PIOs)’.
- The current law is adequate, and enforcement currently works OK, but
it could improve if there was better knowledge by the police of the
relevant law (e.g. prosecuting false PIO claims) and/or if there was
better public information about the protections granted to DROs.
The government’s guidance is useful, but should have been introduced
earlier to counter misinformation in much of the mainstream media
about the nature of squatting.
There has been massive 6 month campaign of misguiding misinformation
Also lies by Grant Schapps and Crispin Blunt the Housing Minister
Note the letter from 160 Solicitors and academics
“We are legal academics, solicitors and barristers who practise in
housing law acting for landlords, tenants, owners and occupiers. We
are concerned that a significant number of recent media reports have
stated that squatters who refuse to leave someone’s home are not
committing a criminal offence and that a change in the law such as
that proposed by the Government is needed to rectify this situation.
This is legally incorrect, as the guidance published by the Department
for Communities and Local Government in March this year makes clear.
We are concerned that such repeated inaccurate reporting of this issue
has created fear for home-owners, confusion for the police and ill
informed debate among both the public and politicians on reforming the
In short the law is adequate, we need no changes costing hundreds of
millions of pounds to implement, at a time of severe austerity,also
the massive spike in housing benefit from accommodating the displaced
In fact we need to talk solutions using the three quarters of a
million empty properties to create homes, communities and project
space that will create employment and homes and urban regeneration.
More information about the Diggers350