No more squatters rights: 69 prosecuted in first year that new law came into effect

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Sep 7 01:14:28 BST 2013

what a rubbish article by an apparently cosseted Oscar
just not true - squatting still legal in non-residential
in fact we have a merry squat here in Bristol he should visit
misleading headline

No more squatters rights: 69 prosecuted in first 
year that new law came into effect, CPS data reveals
  Oscar Quine       Sunday 01 September 2013
Almost 70 suspected squatters have been brought 
before the courts in the year since it became a crime, figures show.
The data, obtained from the Crown Prosecution 
Service under the Freedom of Information Act, 
revealed that 69 people were charged. Many of 
those found guilty were handed fines, usually of 
around £100, while others were given conditional 
discharges. One person received a jail term of 90 days.
Announcing the new law, which came into effect on 
1 September last year, the government said it 
would “end the misery of squatting”. Many 
commentators feared that people who were unable 
to pay rising rent prices would find themselves affected.
Grant Shapps MP, housing minister at the time, 
said: “For too long, hardworking people have 
faced long legal battles to get their homes back 
from squatters, and repair bills reaching into 
the thousands when they finally leave.
”No longer will there be so-called squatters' 
rights. Instead, from next week, we're tipping 
the scales of justice back in favour of the 
homeowner and making the law crystal clear: 
entering a property with the intention of 
squatting will be a criminal offence.“
Previously, squatting was a civil offence, and 
homeowners had to go to court to prove people 
were trespassing on their property. However, 
Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and 
Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has allowed 
local authorities to call in the police to arrest 
squatters, rather than pursuing lengthy civil 
eviction proceedings through the courts.
The data, obtained by The Huffington Post UK, 
covered those charged up to July 2013. A 
spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said there 
had been 94 offences between September 1 2012 and May 19 2013.
Separate figures obtained by the website revealed 
that there had been 90 arrests made outside of 
London since the Act came into force, with fewer 
than half resulting in charges.
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