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).

- 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 
speculative reasons.

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 
on squatting.

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.


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