About Me

London W1, West End Marylebone Westminster, United Kingdom
Andrew Veitch solicitor ( LL.B., M.A., PgDip )is a partner in Guy Clapham and Co solicitors. He deals with the following areas of law: commercial and residential property, conveyancing, litigation (including neighbour disputes), divorce, family, debt collection, landlord and tenant, wills, trust, probate, personal injury and employment. Andrew's clients range from large companies and property developers to local businesses and individuals throughout London and the whole of England and Wales. The office is in the West End of London just off Marylebone High Street and north of Oxford Street and is located within walking distance of the following tube stations: Marylebone , Marble Arch , Baker Street , Bond Street , Oxford Circus , Great Portland Street , Regents Park , Euston and Kings Cross. Please contact me at: Guy Clapham & Co solicitors 51 - 55 Weymouth Street Marylebone London W1G 8NH DX: 83300 WEST END 2 Tel: 020 7935 1095 Fax: 020 7935 9127 E-Mail: andrew@guyclapham.com Website: www.guyclapham.com

Monday 29 October 2012

Property solicitor in London W1 - Andrew Veitch - Squatters and squatting and the distinction between residential and commercial property


On 1 September 2012 squatting in a residential building became an offence under S.144 Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012  (“the Act”). Under the Act squatters found in residential premises can be fined a maximum of £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to six months. To a certain extent, it may be more important to homeowners that the squatters can now be arrested and quickly removed from the property, without the need to undertake lengthy possession proceedings through the courts. 

The offence applies when a person trespasses in a residential property with the intention of living there. Section 144 of the Act provides that a person commits an offence if: the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered as a trespasser; the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser; and the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period. A ‘building’ is defined as including any structure or part of a structure (including a temporary or moveable structure) and a building is ‘residential’ if it is designated or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live. Please note the Act cannot be used with regard to tenants who have failed to pay rent and are in rent arrears. 

On 2nd September 2012 Alex Haigh, Anthony Ismond and Michelle Blake were found squatting in a residential property in Cumberland Street in London and were arrested and removed from the property. These squatters subsequently pleaded guilty in court and Haigh was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison. 

However, web-sites, which provide information on squatting, are already making it common knowledge that commercial premises are not covered by the Act. Thus it is likely that squatters will now deliberately target commercial premises, instead of residential premises. Accordingly, landlords of commercial property need to be extra vigilant in taking steps to ensure that vacant commercial property is secured to stop occupation by squatters. 

This blog provides basic general legal information to help people understand their legal rights, but is not a substitute for personal legal advice from a solicitor. By the very nature of a blog the information published in blog posts on this site may be out of date. Therefore this blog is subject to our following disclaimer and conditions of use: Where no personal consultation has taken place with Andrew Veitch or the partners or employees of Guy Clapham & Co under no circumstances will Andrew Veitch or the partners of Guy Clapham & Co be responsible for (1) any information contained in, omitted or received from this site, (2) any persons reliance on any such information, whether or not the information is correct, current or complete, (3) the consequences of any action you or any other person takes or fails to take, whether or not based on information provided (4)

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