Response - Options for dealing with squatting

By: Nicola Hughes  Published: October 2011

Shelter has responded to the government consultation ‘Options for dealing with Squatting’. Squatting is a highly divisive, politicised and sensitive issue. Legitimate concerns about incidents of squatting must be addressed, but we urge the government not to rush through new criminal laws in a knee-jerk reaction to high profile media stories. We believe that the current law is sufficient to protect most homeowners and tenants. Squatters who are asked to leave premises by these occupiers and refuse to do so are already committing a criminal offence.


Shelter does not support further criminalisation of squatting, nor the repeal or amendments of relevant sections of the Criminal Justice Act, due to possible undermining of legitimate tenant protection and other unintended consequences, and due to the fact that criminal law already exists to deal with squatting in residential premises.


We believe that legal changes should be based on robust, quantifiable evidence to ensure they are proportionate to the scale of the problem and unintended consequences are minimised.


Download the full document: