More Attacks On Our Rights To A Home – Changes to Squatting Laws

If you think you might be affected by the changes to the law about squatting read this article by Advice Service for Squatters and Squash (Squatters’ Action For Secure Homes).

Advice Service for Squatters:
September 1st – what happens now?

On the 1st September S144 of LASPO 2012 comes into force. We’ll leave it to others to explain how this is crap law, in response to myths from sections of the media, brought in by a government of the rich.

The intention is to criminalise squatting in residential property.

We do not think that it will fully achieve this, and non-residential property remains as safe to squat as before.

We expect that the next few months will see a spate of challenges and test cases, which will draw lines between what can and what can’t be done.

We at ASS, along with others, have been going through what’s actually in writing, to work out how we can help people to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately we can’t be as reassuring as we would wish.

What is clear is that we should take down our old much-loved Legal Warnings, as these will be read as an admission of committing a criminal offence.

We have posted on this website (see latest news column, to the right);

  • A new Legal Warning for non-residential properties
  • A more specific Legal Warning for pubs, and
  • A draft notice, for people to cut and paste to explain why they and the property in question are not covered by the new law. This document is a work in progress and we need feedback to know what is working and what isn’t. Don’t try arguments that are clearly not appropriate to your situation.
  • Squatting Made LESS Simple has been updated slightly

We will be monitoring the situation, writing to police stations to explain where they might be going wrong, working out how to go to court to get injunctions against illegal evictions, helping arrange legal challenges, and helping those who want to stand up to this stupid attack on our rights to a home, and to social space.

For more frontline support there are a number of local support networks as well as the Eviction Resistance Network, ( and others. Get involved, organise and support each other.

Article from SQUASH website

So have they banned squatting already?

We have just received verification that the new law criminalising squatting in residential properties will come into effect on September 1st 2012.

You can see the commencement order on the government’s website here

From the ASS website:

Not everyone who is squatting, or considered by others to be squatting, will be affected by the new law, but people will need to be prepared to explain, quite forcefully at times, why they are not affected.

The wording of S144 starts: (1)A person commits an offence if— (a) the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser, (b) the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and (c) the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period. (2)The offence is not committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or licence (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building).

So Squatting is still legal in non-residential properties. A building is defined as ‘residential’ if it is “designed or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live”.

You are also not committing an offence if you have, or have had a tenancy or licence to live in the property, if you are not living or intending to live in the property, or if you don’t have any way to know you are a trespasser (in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this).

If you believe you are going to be affected by the new law, but plan not to leave your current home, please get in touch as soon as possible with The first phase of commencement will be essential in defining what exactly the new laws mean, and we will try to help you get advice and support.

For more information, please see the ASS website and the Eviction Resistance Network site.
If you are based in London, you can contact the Eviction Resistance Network for support – or text “add” to 07591415860.

August 31, 2012  Tags:   Posted in: INFORMATION