Imagine you are seriously ill. You have few family to care for you and you are in hospital for weeks. There are so many things to trouble and concern you. Finally you are discharged and return home only to find that squatters have moved in to your abode. Worse still you have no power to move them on and they have wrecked your home and possessions.
A change in British law will hopefully prevent such occurrences. Squatters may attempt to move in but at least now you will have legal powers to have them evicted. The law is not set to change as far as non residential properties go, not yet that is.
The UK however has a long standing housing problem. We remember taking part in a 25 miles charity walk for Shelter in 1969. Back then housing stocks were low. Shelter tried hard to address some of the needs of the homeless. It is sad to think that 40 plus years later many people cannot find affordable housing.
The rot began when Tory PM Margaret Thatcher allowed tenants to buy their council owned houses but at the same time limited the ability of councils to build new properties. The UK has had housing bubbles which have spectacularly burst leaving people without a roof over their heads and more. The latest figures appear to show a slight recovery in the housing market as far as prices goes. That of course does not help those on a low income wanting to get on that first step of the housing ladder or rent a property.
Not all of the young people who are choosing to stay at home with Mum and Dad rather than fly the nest will be unable to afford a property. These days people are choosy it seems. Most of us started with properties at the lower end of the market and had to wait to buy vehicles, travel abroad and more. There is nothing wrong with wanting the niceties of life but if you have a low income it is bound to end in tears.
All of that said many people do struggle to find a home that they can afford. Housing prices vary across the country. So do rents and the quality of the housing. Maggie Thatcher also de-regulated housing ensuring that tenants have short term leases these days and there are too many unscrupulous landlords who are not regulated.
All in all a bad situation.
Squatters come in all ages and from all walks of life. Most people who end up homeless do not want to do so. A period of ill health or unemployment added to an interest rate hike could be all it takes to mean that you lose the house you have been buying for years. It could be YOU more easily than you think. Interest rates will not stay at a record low forever.
Whilst we applaud the changes to squatters rights for the fact that it halts the activities of the grabbers, without improvements in British housing it is a recipe for disaster.
Expect to see more people living in virtual shanty towns, dilapidated empty factories or on the streets.What the government should be doing is fixing the broken housing market. As much of it was smashed apart by Tories in the past it is only right that they fix it.
From September 1, 2012 it will a criminal offence to squat in a British residential property. Those who do and are apprehended will face up to six months in jail. They could also face a £5,000 fine.
Does the UK have the resources to carry out such actions? Investing money in affordable, but decent housing, must be a better priority. A £5,000 fine to those on low incomes might as well be a trillion pounds. Of course the UK Coalition front bench has no comprehension of the value of money to most British Citizens, does it?
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
Please support our ads in order to allow the site to continue to grow.