Squat­ters tar­get empty homes

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Local Government Reform -

A Perth real es­tate agent is warn­ing home­own­ers to en­sure their prop­er­ties are se­cured if left va­cant while wait­ing for sale or rent.

While at a house in Como, Adrian Bal­lard said there was a risk of squat­ters tar­get­ing empty houses and seek­ing shel­ter there, or in the yards or sheds of un­oc­cu­pied homes.

“In ex­treme cases the squat­ters iden­tify when the prop­erty is most likely to be com­pletely unat­tended, and if se­cu­rity is not ad­e­quate, they break in and oc­cupy the house,” he said.

“In lesser cases, where the house has good se­cu­rity, and more of­ten than not has an ac­tive alarm sys­tem, they will set­tle for camp­ing out in sheds, granny flats or cov­ered out­door en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas.

“Ei­ther way, the end re­sult is of­ten dam­age which ul­ti­mately proves costly, stress­ful and very in­con­ve­nient to the home­own­ers.

“It af­fects the abil­ity to sell or rent out the house.”

Mr Bal­lard said a home­owner could re­duce their chances of be­com­ing a vic­tim by en­sur­ing their prop­erty was se­cure be­fore it was sold.

“Where a house is go­ing to be brought to mar­ket va­cant, it cer­tainly pays to take a mo­ment to re­view se­cu­rity mea­sures,” he said.

“For the most part, it means go­ing back to ba­sics and mak­ing it hard to break in.”

He said prop­erty man­agers would gen­er­ally check on a prop­erty be­tween home opens and view­ings to en­sure it was kept safe.

WA Po­lice said ba­sic home se­cu­rity should be at the fore­front of peo­ple’s minds if they had a va­cant home on the mar­ket.

Snr Sgt Glenn Swan­nell said no one should put them­selves at risk if they were aware that peo­ple were in their home.

“Don’t en­ter the prop­erty if there is any threat; call po­lice on 131 444 and they will come and re­move any tres­passers,” he said.

He said a per­son en­ter­ing some­one’s prop­erty to seek shel­ter was not com­mit­ting a bur­glary, but rather a tres­pass, and could also be charged with crim­i­nal dam­age if ap­pro­pri­ate.

“The of­fence is a bur­glary only if the per­son breaks into a prop­erty with the in­ten­tion of com­mit­ting a crime,” he said.

“If some­one breaks in to seek shel­ter, they are tres­pass­ing and can be charged with that of­fence.”

Pic­ture: Elle Borg­ward

Jones Bal­lard direc­tor Adrian Bal­lard warns sell­ers to main­tain se­cu­rity on their prop­er­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.