Local News, Security Consultancy

Squatting becomes a criminal offence in England and Wales.

Squatter’s rights were scrapped from 1st September 2012.  Squatting in a residential building in England and Wales has now become a criminal offence.  It is already an offence to squat in Scotland.

This means that squatters will face a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a £5,000 fine or both.

Ministers said it will offer better protection for homeowners and “slam shut the door on squatters once and for all”.

The law will protect owners of vacant residential properties such as landlords, local authorities and second homeowners.

The distress squatters can cause families, as well as the financial damage they do is completely unacceptable.

Campaigners have warned that the new law could lead to an increase in rough sleeping.

Previously if a homeowner had squatters they had to go to a civil Court to prove the squatters have trespassed before they could be evicted.

The new change will mean that homeowners can simply make a complaint to the Police who if happy the claim is genuine can take action to and arrest the squatters.