Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Squatters' rights

A judge has described squatting as 'good for society' and called for lists of empty homes to be made available to an agency for squatters, while the Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, is attempting to strengthen the law against squatting. How do laws on the subject vary across Europe?


Breaking and entering is a criminal offence, but if you can enter a building without breaking in, it is not a criminal offence to occupy it. The owner must obtain an eviction order through the civil courts.


Squatting is illegal, but squatters can apply to the state to have empty homes requisitioned, and may not be evicted during the winter.


Squatting is illegal, and Berlin's last openly squatted property was cleared last year. But many former squatters now pay some rent to the state to occupy abandoned buildings.


Until last October, it was legal to squat properties that had been empty for more than a year. Squatting is now a crime.


Squatting has been illegal since 1996, though there are still squats which police have been slow to clear. …

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