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Squatting

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove 11:30 am, 5th February 2013

What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the legislation on squatting in residential premises introduced in 2012.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

The offence only came into force on 1 September 2012, but early indications are that it is being enforced, and reports suggest that it is deterring would-be squatters from occupying other people’s homes.

Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove

There are indications that as a result of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 squatters are increasingly targeting commercial properties. What plans does my right hon. Friend have to evaluate the size of the problem of squatting in commercial premises nationally and to take action to amend the law if necessary?

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

I can assure my hon. Friend that we are monitoring this closely, because it is possible that displacement squatting, as it were, is happening. We are in the early stages of collecting evidence. If he has specific examples from his own constituency of squatters occupying non-residential buildings, we will look at it very carefully, because squatting is a damaging offence.