Bristol has been at the heart of troubles in the South West lately with squatters making the news on several counts. About a week ago, twenty squatters were evicted from a popular pub in the City which had been closed for refurbishment and just yesterday a number of arrests were made in the Stokes Croft area following a protest against the proposed changes in squatting legislation.
As you’ll have noted over the last few months, the government is working on proposals to ‘upgrade’ squatting from a civil offence to a criminal offence. These changes would give the police power to enter properties occupied by squatters and, if prosecuted, squatters could face anything from heavy fines to possible prison sentences.
The danger of squatters
At the moment, squatters are difficult and costly to evict. Landlords who don’t have eviction of squatters cover have found themselves with large court costs and lengthily eviction processes. Squatters have been known to cause damages to property and can hinder any development plans. For landlords, squatters mean high costs and are well worth avoiding.
Landlords will have more protection from the law against squatters when the law is changed but eviction of squatters cover is still vital. Criminal offences still often require lengthily trials and the costs of initial eviction can still cause cashflow problems. Though the future might be a little bit more secure for landlords, you need to ensure you’re protected through these changes.
Wherever you are in the country squatters are a risk and not something to be taken lightly. Keep an eye on the news feed for all the latest updates and make sure, whatever your property, you’re covered.