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Monday 19 October 2009 1.58pm
(I know it's not generally constructive to correct grammar and spelling on the forum, but if you're trying to get publications to take your article, you might want to check spelling of Blackfriars.)

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 19 October 2009 3.00pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
(I know it's not generally constructive to correct grammar and spelling on the forum, but if you're trying to get publications to take your article, you might want to check spelling of Blackfriars.)

:P I think I'm more than capable of running a few quick scans for typos before I submit... I do do this whole "writing" malarkey on quite a regular basis...
Monday 19 October 2009 3.10pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
In answer to your question, Andy, the squatter acquires 'adverse possession' having gained access to the property without force (if he uses force he commits the offence of trespass for which the police can remove although in practice this will need to be very quickly after the squatter has entered).

Is this right? I thought Adverse Possession was a claim for title of a property that has been squatted for more than 12 years, a period in which no contact has been underway between occupiers and owner.

Also, using to force to enter a property (such as breaking a window or even changing a lock) is sometimes viewed by the police as an act of criminal damage, an arrestable offence. I don't think it is part of something like criminal trespass which does not exist in England. This is why occupying an empty building is a civil matter and not a criminal one.
Monday 19 October 2009 3.18pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
In answer to your question, Andy, the squatter acquires 'adverse possession' having gained access to the property without force (if he uses force he commits the offence of trespass for which the police can remove although in practice this will need to be very quickly after the squatter has entered).
Although it is a bit of a grey area, the owner can take steps to remove the squatter "peacefully" - such a method might be for the owner to enter when he knows the squatters aren't there and take steps to secure the premises to prevent re-entry. However, no force can be used and, in the absence of them leaving voluntarily or the owner being able to 'outwit' them, the only option is to seek a possession order from the county court. The squatters can only then be evicted.

Having a spot of legal knowledge myself, I had thought that "adverse possession" only kicks in if unchallenged for a consecutive 12 year period, but maybe it's different with residential property. The thing I find strange is that, when someone else is occupying your property, you are not allowed to use force to re-enter your OWN property (in a way that maybe you would have to if you had locked yourself out by accident and had no other way of entering)! That's the laws of England and Wales, I guess.....
Monday 19 October 2009 3.55pm
queenjane wrote:
Ivanhoe wrote:
(I know it's not generally constructive to correct grammar and spelling on the forum, but if you're trying to get publications to take your article, you might want to check spelling of Blackfriars.)

:P I think I'm more than capable of running a few quick scans for typos before I submit... I do do this whole "writing" malarkey on quite a regular basis...
1) No need to be so snarky. Only trying to help.
2) Is "writing" the same as writing?
3) A scan wouldn't pick up that kind of error.

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 19 October 2009 4.49pm
i can't believe I put 'adverse possession' - I had my housing law textboox out at the time and 'adverse possession', which indeed is the method by which the title to land changes without compensation after the requisite period (changed since LRA 2003), is on the next page - I stand corrected on that point!

However, in answer to Merlin Rouge's point, whilst trespass is not NECESSARILY a criminal offence, the police DO have power to remove offending trespassers using the power given by statute - section 61 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act.

And so, other than the one concession above re adverse possession, I stand by the contents of my original post. Just like ABCAndy, I hope to have at least a 'spot of knowledge of the law' given that I have been practising it for over eight years!
Monday 19 October 2009 4.52pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
I hope to have at least a 'spot of knowledge of the law' given that I have been practising it for over eight years

...although obviously not in landlord and tenant law; I think that much is obvious!
Monday 19 October 2009 5.32pm
So you only commit the criminal offence if you cause criminal damage? Presumably therefore, so long as you don't break the new lock that the squatters have fitted on the front door (which is their property), but instead bust open one of your own window locks on the property (which is your property, which I guess you can't be guilty of commiting criminal damage towards), then you can just pop in and go about your business...?!

Fascinating stuff....
Monday 19 October 2009 6.02pm
Gavin Smith wrote:

However, in answer to Merlin Rouge's point, whilst trespass is not NECESSARILY a criminal offence, the police DO have power to remove offending trespassers using the power given by statute - section 61 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act.

This fairly new law refers specifically to land - 'Section 61: Power to remove trespassers on land' - and so squatting of buildings still remains a civil matter between owner and occupiers, although Section 61 can refer to 'agricultural buildings'. I don't think it has ever been used in the inner cities to remove squatters from places.

Re: the question of re-squatting your property.
Section 6 of the 1977 Criminal Law Act states that is an arrestable offence to evict occupiers from a squatted premises if they are in occupation which is why squatters try their best to always have somebody in the building at all times. The police in most cases know this law, or, at least in London, have become more familiar with it and act accordingly (mostly!). If the owner breaks in, or sends in some heavies, the police should respond if they are called.

Section 6 is a fascinating piece of English property law. You can mull it over here:
http://www.squatter.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=30
Monday 19 October 2009 7.20pm
I didn't for one second suggest that it was legal to forcibly evict squatters - see my original post. Where the civil tort of trespass has been committed this does, contrary to your assertion, empower police to use powers under CJPO. However, you say 'you don't think it has ever been used...' - how do you know - do you work in the Home Office statistics branch? You are right inasmuch as the police will rarely use them in such a situation but the power does nonetheless exist - see Civilized Squatting (Radley-Gardner et al).

no doubt you will have a view contrary to this!
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