The law on squatting in the UK and what it means for empty properties

Squatting has been a contentious issue in the UK for decades. It occurs when a person or group of people moves into a vacant property without the owner’s permission. The law on squatting in the UK can be complicated, and it can have serious implications for property owners.

What is squatting?

Squatting is when someone occupies an empty property without the owner’s permission. The person who squats in a property does not have any legal right to live there, and the property owner can evict them at any time. Squatting can cause damage to the property and can create safety concerns for the surrounding community.

The legal framework on squatting

In September 2012, the UK government made squatting in residential properties a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to £5,000. However, squatting in non-residential properties, such as commercial buildings, is still a civil matter. Property owners need to take civil action to evict squatters from their property, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Safeguarding against squatting with Property Guardianship

One solution to safeguard against squatting is to use a property guardian scheme. Property guardianship places people in empty properties to protect them from squatters and vandals. Property guardians are responsible for looking after the property and reporting any damage or issues to the property owner.

Property guardianship has become an increasingly popular solution in recent years, with more and more property owners turning to this scheme to protect their properties. The benefits of property guardianship include lower costs, faster response times to any issues, and the flexibility to end the agreement at short notice.

Moreover, property guardianship has many social benefits. It offers affordable housing to people and is helping to tackle the rising cost of living for those who would otherwise struggle to find somewhere to live, such as key workers and young professionals. Property guardianship schemes also create a sense of community in areas where there are high levels of empty properties.

Squatting is a serious issue for property owners in the UK, but property guardianship can be an effective solution to safeguard against it, offering a simple and effective solution that benefits both property owners and the wider community.