Police have the power to fine squatters up £5,000 or they may face 6 months in prison.
In backlash, squatters have turned to other, commercial buildings.
“Hobo Hilton”, 199 – 203 High Holborn (West End), has become a haven for those who wish to avoid criminal charges.
Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 creates a new offence of squatting in a residential building.
Woodward Chartered Surveyor Steven Cornish, Harrow on the Hill, says “The law change may decrease the amount of squatters in residential properties; whilst this is welcome in the domestic sector, the results may show that the Governments actions will only transfer the problem to the commercial sector.”
Advice given to squatters now informs them to target commercial buildings. This could have a large impact on the business community who will now have to deal with these issues.
So how will this affect the commercial property industry? Increased security? More trespassing precautions? Whatever the case, it is the business community that will have to deal with influx of illegal residents.
Equally residential asset holders can worry less about the potential damage caused from squatter’s living standards. So if you’re a squatter it’s time to put on the suit and head down to the office. Who knows you could get a job!