Squatters now face criminal charges
SQUATTING in a residential property is now a criminal offence.
The maximum penalty will be six months’ prison and/or a £5,000 fine.
Trespassing will be where someone knowingly enters a residential building as a trespasser, and is either living there or planning to live there without the owner’s consent.
There will no longer be a requirement for the property owner to ask the trespassers to leave before calling the police, who will have a duty to enter the property to arrest anyone suspected of squatting, and can ignore “squatters’ rights” notices.
The offence will not apply retrospectively, so people already squatting will escape prosecution.