Posted on February 15, 2018.
Squatting is when a person or group of people trespass abandoned or unoccupied land or building(s) with intent to live there illegally.
This is of major concern for Property Owners and causes issues such as:
- Preventing developers from building
- Depreciates the value of a property
- Can require public funds to evict - Councils, Housing Associations and NHS Trusts
In addition to being a burden for Property Owners, it can also cause issues in the local community, such as:
- Squatters taking part in other illegal activities
- Inviting more squatters into the neighbourhood
- Causes mess and damage to the neighbourhood
- Can be disrespectful - noisyactivity taking place at unsocial hours
Laws in placesuch as The Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 144 of LASPO aim to protect properties from squatters.These laws help to protect residential Property Owners and local authorities who fall victim of squatters. If squatters persist, the case will need to be taken to civil court and even then it is not certain that the Property Owner will win the case.
As these laws do not apply to commercial buildings,it is nota criminal offence to squat in a commercial building. This means that police will not act on this behaviour and instead advise Property Owners to seeks civil law enforcement to clear the property.
The issue of squatting is a major issue in the UK and due to the housing crisis it is unlikely that the issue will reside in the immediate future. Property Guardianship is the best way to prevent buildings from being squatted in, save property owners money and most importantly provide them with piece of mind. It can also encourage people who feel they have no choice other than to squat to become Guardians and help the community.
In 2013, Global Guardians took on a building in Southwark which was being squatted in by 50 people and dogs. Global Guardians assisted with bailiff eviction for the client and placed security guards in the property immediately.GGM then carried out works to the property with no costs to the owner as part of our ‘Improve Your Voids’ service. We are proud to say that our Guardians have deterred squatters from trying to gain access on several occasions and subsequently has saved the Property Ownerover £160k on security guard costs.
By using a licence agreement, Global Guardians is able to secure your building,regardless of the existing property listing. We are able toconvert the use of the building to residential whilst alsomaking alterations so thatGuardians can live in the property safely and comfortably. Only then will the Police start action on removing squatters.
Why GGM is the best way to prevent squatting:
- Secure properties and help the community
- Not a solution to the UK housing crisis but can help working people save
- No financial help given to working adults
- Stops the property from being vulnerable, no longer a target for squatters, a place for anti-social behaviour, arson and other illegal activities
- GGM manage all utilities, facilities and take control of all maintenance management
- GGM takes responsibility for paying Council Tax
- £122,640 savings per year on security guard costs
- £50k savings per year on empty business rates
- £30k savings on taking squatters to court
Squatting is a problem that needs a solid resolution and we believe that the solution is Property Guardianship.The industry is currently going through changes to enforce rules and make sure that companies are complying with codes of conduct set by the BS 8584:2015.Along with modifying properties and changing listings to residential, the property is then protected by The Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 144 of LASPO,thus making Property Guardianship the most effective way of securing a vacant property.
To find out more about Global Guardians and how we can help secure vacant properties please see our Property Guardian Solutions page to download our brochure. For any other info please contact us on 0203 818 9101.