The Landlord Syndicate, a network of companies providing a complete support centre for landlords, are relieved by the news that squatting is to become a criminal offence as of September.
Homeowners, and particularly landlords whose properties are not always occupied, can breathe a sigh of relief as reports have revealed the act of squatting, which is currently only a civil offence, will be made a criminal offence from 1st September 2012.
One member of The Landlord Syndicate who has fought for some time to enforce this law, even supporting a campaign presented to Parliament in April 2011, is Paul Shamplina, also founder of Landlord Action. He comments “Squatting cases have been on the rise for some time now, many by organised gangs whom have travelled thousands of miles to engage in squatting knowing they will be protected by the law. It was only when some high profile cases hit the headlines that people sat up and took notice of the growing injustice on homeowners.”
Squatters will now face up to a £5000 fine and a six month prison sentence if they take up residence in another person’s property.
In light of this news, The Landlord Syndicate are warning landlords not to be complacent, “Enforcing a law does not mean that the activity of squatting will be eradicated, it just means there are tougher measures to deal with it which should prevent landlords and homeowners having to enter into lengthy and expensive legal battles” adds Paul. That means landlords still need to avoid void periods and ensure they invest in good preventative security measures.