0370 270 6000

Royal Assent for criminal offence of squatting in a residential property

8 May 2012

1 May 2012 marked the day in which the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 received Royal Assent. Section 144 of the Act has created a new offence of squatting in a residential building.

A person commits an offence if:
  1. They are in a residential building as a trespasser, having entered it as a trespasser
  2. Knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and
  3. Is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.

An offence will not be committed by a person 'holding over' after the end of a lease or licence.
The new offence could see squatters face up to 6 months imprisonment or up to a £5,000 fine.
It is inevitable that the offence will be up for debate as to what actions constitute the offence and more importantly, the cost implications the law will have on taxpayers… watch this space!

Related opinions

Building Safety Bill receives Royal Assent

The new regime introduced by the Act will take shape over the next 18 months, but those who design, build or manage high rise buildings are being urged to get ready for the changes to be introduced through the act.

View blog

Update: building safety repairs pledge signed by over 35 major housing developers

On 14 February 2022, Secretary of State of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, announced proposals designed to pressure building developers and materials manufacturers to fund the remediation of unsafe properties.

View blog

Government’s proposals for dealing with pandemic rent arrears finally reach the statute book

The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 was finally passed yesterday (24 March) and comes into force immediately.

View blog

Draft Bill published to establish a Register of Overseas Entities

The Government has this week published the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill as part of its measures to crack down on foreign criminals using property in this country to launder money. The Bill proposes the establishment of a Register of Overseas Entities to be maintained by Companies House.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up