Mike Weatherly was instrumental in bringing in a law last year to make squatting in residential premises. He now wants to see that extended to commercial buildings and is calling on MPs to back his early day motion.
His EDM 912 (Commercial Squatting) draws attention to the distinction between the homeless and squatters, who actively choose to occupy other people's property. As well as highlighting the need to encourage owners of empty building back into use, the EDM stresses that owners of commercial property deserve the same level of protection as owners of residential property.
Squash's response to EDM 912:
We call for Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which criminalises squatting in residential properties to be repealed. The law is not working:
- Homeless people are being penalised. Many are finding themselves on the streets who would otherwise have found shelter in abandoned residential properties
- Some have ultimately gone to jail for using empty buildings to put a roof over their head
- Contrary to government propaganda, the law is doing nothing more to protect people in their homes, who were already protected by the existing Criminal Law Act 1977
- It is encouraging property speculators and unscrupulous landlords to keep buildings empty
- It is increasing the burden on taxpayers as squatters move into the housing benefit system on top of the prosecution costs
- Despite an overwhelming 96% rejection in the governments consultation, the law was rushed through parliament without sufficient scrutiny and therefore lacks any legitimacy
Sign the petition at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44597