That has to be good news, despite the howls of protest from the pro-squatting groups on the left. The government has finally framed a law making the occupation of someone else's property illegal. It's taken far too long to secure this change in attitude. The blatant approach of many squater groups - such as the one based in East London which maintains an internet site with lists of 'desirable' properties available for squatters to 'take possession,' and which includes extremely valuable and important properties in the most expensive parts of London.
The argument that, simply because someone owns a second home, they are a legitimate target is fallacious. I've never owned more than one property, but even my humble little semi or terrace could be on the 'Squatters Directory' if my work took me away from it for more than a week. There is no justification for taking possession of someone's home (first or second) simply because 'I like it, it's standing empty, and I can get in without causing damage.' Rubbish, squatting has become a highly organised industry and it is time it was stamped on.
The excuse that most squatters are 'vulnerable' and 'homeless' isn't always the case and no longer holds true. Yes, there may be some, but they are not the majority any longer. Many are extremely well educated and have access to legal aid, legal teams on tap and know exactly how to string out the legal process - clumsy, expensive and time-consuming - to their advantage. And while the lawyers string things along, the squatters strip the house of valuable fittings, deface the walls and render the place uninhabitable so that when it is repossessed, it is no longer fit for habitation without a massive and expensive renovation.
No, it is long past time to treat squatting for what it is. Blatant theft. The law must not and cannot condone it.
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