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Change the law/interpret it differently so this is a break in

(11 Posts)
bkgirl Wed 17-Aug-11 11:48:39

Why could the lady not call the police and they evict these people as having performed a break in and lock them up for doing it? Surely it is burglary?Has our legal system become totally stupid?

ps I apologise that the above was not a link

CustardCake Wed 17-Aug-11 18:39:17

She's just lucky that the door was so obvioulsy broken open and the house had been broken into because that allowed her to get the police involved and things moving quickly. If there is no sign of a break in, she'd have had even more problems as it can then be a civil matter (squatting isn't illegal)

I agree though it is ridiculous that squatters laws can be allowed to ruin someone's life (not wishing to sound dramatic but to have your home invaded and everything you own thrown in bin bags in the garden is going to be pretty traumatic and enough to make many people fearful enough to move)

LineRunner Wed 17-Aug-11 21:08:15

What I've never understood is why people don't ring the police and report a burglary in progress?

'Yes officer, I've just seen them climbing in through a window. I'm too scared to approach and I'm in such a state I can't find my keys...'

CustardCake Wed 17-Aug-11 22:15:15

Not many burglars would answer the door to the police wearing the householder's own clothes and declaring their intention to live in the house though. If they tell the police they are squatters, they cannot be removed (by the police). It is only a criminal matter if they force entry. If they climb in through an open windown and decide to squat, the householder cannot rely on the police to sort it out. It becomes a civil matter. In this lady's case her door had been forced and the damage was apparant and that's why she could involve police.
I do agree though in being puzzled why no action on theft or criminal damage is taken.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Aug-11 08:24:28

I'm amazed there's no case for trespass, criminal damage, theft etc. And I think it's appalling that squatting in a private home is considered some kind of trivial or civil matter in the first place - never mind legal. There's an enoromous difference between a derelict/abandoned building being occupied and people forcing their way into an occupied house when the owner has only been away for a few days. Ridiculous.

empirestateofmind Thu 18-Aug-11 09:09:54

That is a horrific story. So basically anyone can break into your home and stay there. If that isn't trespass and criminal damage, what is?

I hope the law is changed quickly. Poor woman.

scurryfunge Thu 18-Aug-11 09:15:24

I should imagine there is more to this that what is reported.....she probably wasn't living there. Not excusing what has happened though, it just won't be that simple.

Bkgirl - if you want to post a link, put two of the square brackets - this one -> [, then paste your link, then two of these brackets ->]. Then your link will show up like this ->

If you want to give the link a short name, do the first two square brackets, paste the link, put in one space, then the title you have chosen for the link, and the two square brackets to close it, and you will get this.

mousymouse Thu 18-Aug-11 09:18:18

my mind boggles. especially coming from a country where there is no such thing as squatters rights.
poor lady. hope her insurance pays up and goes after the family.
the cheek of the family telling neighbours that the lady had died nd they are renting from her relatives...

Bramshott Thu 18-Aug-11 09:31:20

I thought there was a very clear distinction in law between squatters who had occupied an empty property, and squatters in someone's home, who could be evicted very quickly.

this direct gov link is pretty clear that "If you currently live in your home and come back to find squatters who won’t leave, this would make you a ‘displaced residential occupier’. You should call the police to report a crime." So I wonder if there is more to this story than meets the eye (and conveniently fits in with the govt's new proposals to get tougher on all forms of squatting [cynical - moi?])

CustardCake Thu 18-Aug-11 11:44:59

There is a distinction in how easily the squatters can be removed but squatting is never illegal in England whether the squatters are in a home or whether they take over a derilict shop that's been empty for 3 years.

It is is merely easier to get court action and faster for it to be enacted if you can prove that the property is your permanent residence and that the squatters have therefore made you homeless. It is a criminal offence for squatters not to leave if the homeowner asks but the act of actually stealing someone else's home is not an offence.
For derelict buildings or second homes or for houses inherited from a deceased parent but yet sold, it is harder to remove squatters. It is illegal for the homeowner to threaten force or to try to gain access to the property until the squatters have left. They have to go through all the correct civil court channels to remove squatters which takes anything from days to weeks. And this process costs money. You have to pay for the court action and bailiffs and costs of securing the property again not to mention clear-up costs.

There is consultation on the issue that closes in October.

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