Squatters flat out - not who, but what you know!

 

  • Landlords can now breathe some relief but squatting still exists legitimately.
  • The very mention of the word squat causes most landlords to squirm!
  • If your tenants invite em in; it may still be tough to get em out.
  • Evidentially, it is still a minefield.
  • Section 144 Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
  • Maximum prison term six months or £5,000 fine or both.
  • An offence is only committed when the subsequent occupants know the first occupants are squatters, otherwise it is potentially lawful.
  • Scenario one - a group of legitimate tenants are effectively driven out by what is now the only remaining original problem tenant who invites his friends to live with him. The "squatters" are not actually squatters they are licensees. To get them out you have to evict the lawful tenant (I know "lawful" it is an ironic contradiction). The licensees are legally entitled to be there until either the tenant is evicted or are asked to leave by the tenant. The tenant has likely breached his tenancy agreement and can be evicted as a consequence if your contract provides for the mischief claimed at court.
  • Another scenario - the house is occupied by squatters between lets. They invite other "non- squatters" to join them. Only the first squatters are offenders if the second are inocent invitees who might argue (cynically) that they were unaware the first were squatting avoiding any offence). Some pro-squatter activists turn this logic upside down arguing that innocent occupants are being criminalised! Strange logic?
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