Squatting in England

“From September 1st 2012, squatting in a residential property became a criminal offence. Squatters can now be arrested and if convicted, can be sent to prison for up to 6 months or fined up to £5,000, or both.”

“Squatting in a residential property is a criminal offence. Squatters can be arrested by the police and if convicted by a court, can be sent to prison for up to 6 months, fined up to £5,000, or both.

You cannot be convicted of squatting if you:

  • are squatting in commercial premises
  • are a tenant or licensee remaining in a property after the tenancy or licence has ended
  • entered the property genuinely believing you were a tenant – for example, if a bogus letting agent rented you a property they had no right to
  • are a Gypsy or Traveller living on an unauthorised site.

It is illegal to get into a property by breaking in or damaging windows and doors and you could be arrested even if the damage is minimal.

Squatters have a right to be connected to utilities such as gas, electricity and water, but using them without contacting the supplier first is illegal.”


” How squatters can be evicted

Even if they are not arrested, squatters can be evicted more easily than many other people. In some cases the person with a right to occupy or live in the property doesn’t have to get acourt order first – this applies if you are:

  • squatting in a property and excluding somebody from their home (a ‘displaced residential occupier’) – for example, if they were on holiday
  • squatting in a property that somebody is about to move into (a ‘protected intending occupier’), such as a homebuyer or a new tenant.

In either of these cases, if you are squatting and refuse to leave when you are asked to, you can be arrested.

Otherwise, if you are squatting and neither of the situations above applies to you, the owner or landlord will have to get a court order to evict you  – for example, if you are squatting in a property that was run down and needed work to be carried out before it could be sold or rented out.

In most cases the court will automatically give the owner or landlord the right to get back into the property. If you still don’t leave, they can also ask the court bailiffs to evict you and your belongings from the property.”



Squatting and the law
“A tenant who enters a property with the permission of the landlord, but who falls behind with rent payments, is not a squatter.

Although squatting a non-residential building or land isn’t in itself a crime, trespassers on non-residential property may be committing other crimes.

It’s normally a crime for a person to enter private property without permission and refuse to leave when the owner asks.

In certain circumstances, it may also be a crime if someone doesn’t leave land when they’ve been directed to do so by the police or council, or if they don’t comply with a repossession order.”


Squatters target commercial buildings
“The new offence does not apply to commercial property, open land or previous tenants.
As a result, a trend has emerged whereby squatters are now targeting commercial
buildings, in order to avoid the criminal effect of the new law.
Elements of the offence
The offence of squatting in a residential property is committed when a person is in a
residential building as a trespasser and that person knows or ought to know that they are
a trespasser and the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.
A “residential building” is any structure or part of a structure which has been designed or
adapted for use as a place to live. This includes temporary or moveable structures such
as park homes and caravans.
The maximum penalty will be 6 months imprisonment, a £5,000 fine or both. If the police
are satisfied that a claim is genuine they have the power under section 17 of the Police
and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to enter and search premises for the purpose of
arresting a person for the offence of squatting in a residential building.
An owner cannot use the power themselves, and to attempt to do so would be an offence
under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
The effect on “squatters rights”
The concept of squatters rights comes from section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977,
which provides that it is an offence for a person without lawful authority to use or threaten
violence to secure entry to a property against the will of those inside”



Increase in squatter problem gives property owners expensive headache – Aviva
“Commercial property owners are advised to:

Cap off all utilities. If the building is to be refurbished, remove the fuse board too. This will make it difficult for squatters to reconnect the electricity.
Secure windows and entrances with steel screening to prevent vandalism and access (screens can be rented). Make sure there is no roof access, as squatters claim legal rights by entering open or previously vandalised entry-points without forcing entry.
Alarm the building with a temporary wireless alarm with integral video transmission that is monitored. The video will filter out false alarms and provide hard evidence in court cases.
Install perimeter fencing to protect open areas, such as driveways, car-parks and gardens.
Remove all combustibles from the building such as mattresses, chairs and upholstery. As well as a fire hazard, they may be vilely mistreated or damaged by squatters.
Use mobile or static dog patrols to stop determined squatters”


Q&A: Squatting laws


Credit Default, Repossession on Collateral


Repossession Stays on Your Credit Report 7 Years
“How long does a repossession reflect on your credit report, and how does it affect your credit report?”

What is a secured credit card?
“A secured card is the option to take when it comes to building or rebuilding credit. If you fit that criteria and have $200 or more to deposit into an account for the secured line of credit you will most likely be approved for a card once the required deposit has been made and the funds are verified.”
“A secured credit card is a type of credit card where your credit limit is based on the amount of money that you deposit into an account. If you deposit $1,000 you will either have $1,000 as an available line of credit or a percentage of that $1,000 will be available as a line of credit, again this depends on the issuer. It is important to keep in mind that this limit is not set in stone and that the bank may raise your credit limit if you manage your account responsibly such as paying your balance on-time every month. A secured card is different then a prepaid card because a secured card is a credit card, a line of credit will be extended to you based on the amount of you deposit into an account held by the card issuer, the deposit is used for collateral and you must pay the credit card balance due each month. While with a prepaid card each time you make a purchase that purchase amount is immediately deducted from the balance on the prepaid card and when the balance is gone you will need to deposit more money in order to continue to use the prepaid card.”