New law will criminalise squatters
A new law will criminalise squatting, leaving vulnerable homeless people facing up to six month's imprisonment, or a fine they cannot pay, says Crisis.
The new Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act will make it a criminal offence to squat in any residential property, including those that are empty and abandoned.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis said:
“There was already legal provision that police and councils could, and should, have used to remove individuals in the rare instances of squatting in someone’s home.
“And the new law also applies to empty homes - of which there are 720,000 in England alone, including many that are dilapidated and abandoned - criminalising homeless people when they are just trying to find a place off the streets.
“It will do nothing to address the underlying reasons why vulnerable people squat in the first place - their homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. Ultimately the Government needs to tackle why homeless people squat by helping not punishing them.”