Squatting in a residential building in England and Wales becomes a criminal offence on Saturday, meaning squatters would face jail or a fine.
Ministers said it would offer better protection for homeowners and "slam shut the door on squatters once and for all".
The maximum penalty will be six months in jail, a £5,000 fine, or both.But not everyone is happy:
Catherine Brogan, from the campaign group Squatters' Action for Secure Housing, told the BBC: "What we need is to tackle the housing crisis and not criminalise some of the most vulnerable people in our society."That's the Squatters' Action for Secure Housing or Squash. They claim that:
The legislation will have impacts on the most vulnerable people in society, will empower unscrupulous landlords and will burden the justice system, police and charities.Oh really? From the only story in the "Squatter Stories" section of their website:
I got into squatting through Occupy London. After camping in a tent I moved into the publicly repossessed UBS Bank complex ‘Bank of Ideas’ near Liverpool Street. It was there that I really came to appreciate the political potency of reclaimed urban space in a city centre devoured by private property, security, CCTV and Police helicopters.
When I used to rent I often got bored and isolated. These days, no two days of my life are the same. The large network of people that make up the London squatting movement are some of the brightest threads in the fabric of London’s activist and artistic community. There are dedicated professionals of all different kinds contributing essential services to the city, united by an inability or unwillingness to pay London rates of rent.Then all becomes clear - the new law threatens their lifestyle choice which is parasitical and ideological, taking from others and giving nothing back in return. So fuck off hippies, it's time to pay your way like the rest of us.
Update on 14/9/2012 - The Squatter Stories section of their website has mysteriously vanished! Strange that...