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Squatting is to become a criminal offence: do you think it should? POLL watch

  • View Poll Results: Should squatting become a criminal offence?
    Yes, with a custodial sentence
    48.96%
    Yes, with a fine or other punishment excluding a custodial sentence
    30.90%
    Only in certain circumstances - please state
    10.07%
    Not at all
    10.07%

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    Okay, so take a fine 10-bed Belgravia house lying empty for years, owned by some distant soverign fund, appreciating in value all the time, 15 people enter and reside there, taking care of the building, delivering misposted mail to the rightful addressees, and generally acting in the public interest. For such a fine home to ly derilict is a crime in itself. .
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    How is it that in the 21st century it is still illegal to steal pretty much anything except a house???
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    I think it's not as black and white as people make out. There are 1 million homeless people in the UK and more than 1 million empty houses - it's actually a useful way for the government to get people off the streets. In the vast majority of these cases the home owners aren't doing anything with the house other than letting it sit there. For squatters to claim a property as their own they have to live there for 10 years, then the owner gets a notification letter telling them to get a court order to evict them. Only if they ignore the letter do the squatters get the property. It tends to be people who have hundreds of properties that they can't keep track of which ones are empty or not.

    Having said this I tend to lean in favour of property rights. Though it's very rare for squatters to gain a freehold of land, it's relatively difficult to evict them and you don't get any help from the police. I think there are very good reasons to make it a criminal offence, but we should also consider imposing penalties on people who own and keep hundreds of properties empty without looking after them.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    ...but we should also consider imposing penalties on people who own and keep hundreds of properties empty without looking after them.

    :zomg:

    What the hell have you been smoking?
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    I used to know a bunch of squatters who hid out in some house in the middle of Norfolk and cooked up, packed and sold drugs. I never got involved, but it was almost lolworthy how easily they got away with everything.

    The feeble laws about squatting served them well because they printed the laws out and stuck them on the front door of the house for when police etc came by, to let them know they can't be touched.

    NOTE: I only met the squatters through a friend of mine, I am not a squatter or drug dealer of any kind
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    (Original post by ArtGoblin)
    Accommodation is a basic human need.
    so is food, you still have to pay for it though dont you.

    our society dictates that you need money to provide for your living. thats one of the basic principals of society that has existed for thousands of years. so why should it be ok for some scumbags to choose they dont want to follow those rules??
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    (Original post by ArtGoblin)
    I haven't got a problem with squatting. We live in a country with houses standing empty while others live in hostels or on the streets. I'd much rather someone make use of the space than have it go to waste, especially when the reason it's empty is because someone has more than property. The unequal distribution of housing is a big problem, and squatting does something to rectify the situation.
    Seriously? Unequal distribution of housing? These people are living in these places ILLEGALLY. Does that make any sense at all to you...? YOU may not mind if someone you don't know comes and takes over your property, but I'm pretty sure the rest of us do.

    Too often I hear about "unequal distribution of ________." How about people go get a job, earn money, and pay their own way like EVERYONE else. Obviously, there are exceptions. But for the vast majority of "leeches" out there, it's a lifestyle choice and not forced on them.
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    (Original post by warrenpenalver)
    so is food, you still have to pay for it though dont you.

    our society dictates that you need money to provide for your living. thats one of the basic principals of society that has existed for thousands of years. so why should it be ok for some scumbags to choose they dont want to follow those rules??
    I know it is, and I think it is wrong. This is my original point. A society shouldn't allow some people to be homeless and others to own more than one property. It doesn't seem right. Sometimes it's not about choosing to follow the rules or not; it is impossible for some people to follow society's norms once in a certain position. I understand that most squatters aren't doing it out of desperation, but I advocate squatting for political purposes too. Anything that draws attention to the huge inequalities in society is good.

    (Original post by mjeezy)
    Seriously? Unequal distribution of housing? These people are living in these places ILLEGALLY. Does that make any sense at all to you...? YOU may not mind if someone you don't know comes and takes over your property, but I'm pretty sure the rest of us do.

    Too often I hear about "unequal distribution of ________." How about people go get a job, earn money, and pay their own way like EVERYONE else. Obviously, there are exceptions. But for the vast majority of "leeches" out there, it's a lifestyle choice and not forced on them.
    Actually, they're not living there illegally. It's not currently a criminal offence, but there is talk of making it one, which is what this thread is about. It's not so easy for people to just 'get a job'. If they have no qualifications, no experience, have been in prison etc. they're going to find it very difficult. A lot of people with more than one property have inherited it. Why is one person more deserving than another?
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    (Original post by ArtGoblin)
    I haven't got a problem with squatting. We live in a country with houses standing empty while others live in hostels or on the streets. I'd much rather someone make use of the space than have it go to waste, especially when the reason it's empty is because someone has more than property. The unequal distribution of housing is a big problem, and squatting does something to rectify the situation.
    i agree, people shouldn't be allowed to own more than one property, as it prevents the poor from getting houses whilst the rich are hoarding them away
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    (Original post by ArtGoblin)
    I know it is, and I think it is wrong. This is my original point. A society shouldn't allow some people to be homeless and others to own more than one property. It doesn't seem right. Sometimes it's not about choosing to follow the rules or not; it is impossible for some people to follow society's norms once in a certain position. I understand that most squatters aren't doing it out of desperation, but I advocate squatting for political purposes too. Anything that draws attention to the huge inequalities in society is good.



    Actually, they're not living there illegally. It's not currently a criminal offence, but there is talk of making it one, which is what this thread is about. It's not so easy for people to just 'get a job'. If they have no qualifications, no experience, have been in prison etc. they're going to find it very difficult. A lot of people with more than one property have inherited it. Why is one person more deserving than another?
    Because the people who inherit, inherit from people who specifically worked to give that property/money to their children when they die. The fact those exact same people went to prison, and/or don't have any qualifications is probably also their parents fault as well. Yet people like yourself are insistent that we let such feckless parents have as many children as they like, and that we throw fistfuls of cash at them because otherwise it's unfair. Then when the feckless parent's children inevitably don't make it anywhere in life and start repeating the cycle we also have to put up with them stealing and trashing our houses as well. Like you said in the first post you put in this thread, the government will usually help with a hostel of some sort. Why you think we should provide more than the basics is beyond me... in this society we have already pretty much lost a sizeable amount of the workforce because being unemployed is simply too comfortable, why would we want to make it even more comfortable?

    I don't know what you're complaining about inequalities for. Squatters and the like are entirely reliant on inequalities to fund their worthless, contributionless life style. They need people in the city to earn millions and get taxed millions so they can get their JSA every two weeks and their free homes, as well as have their children fed and clothed (because who else is going to do that? Them? Don't make me laugh).
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    (Original post by Reml)
    i agree, people shouldn't be allowed to own more than one property, as it prevents the poor from getting houses whilst the rich are hoarding them away
    They do rent them you know... something the poor are entirely reliant on given that the majority find it impossible to save for the down payment on a mortgage. Without the private rent market you'd see a whole lot more people on the streets.
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    (Original post by Elipsis)
    They do rent them you know... something the poor are entirely reliant on given that the majority find it impossible to save for the down payment on a mortgage. Without the private rent market you'd see a whole lot more people on the streets.
    thats assuming (wrongly) that rich people don't charge large amounts, which they will for high-value properties, so the poor will be unable to rent them
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    (Original post by Reml)
    thats assuming (wrongly) that rich people don't charge large amounts, which they will for high-value properties, so the poor will be unable to rent them
    And you think the poor should have the right to live in high value properties do you? I've got news for you mate, those high value properties are high value because poor people don't live in them or near them. Just take a look at Soviet Russia, which in order to house everyone forced people into communal flats. The poor have it far better under this system.
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    (Original post by Elipsis)
    And you think the poor should have the right to live in high value properties do you? I've got news for you mate, those high value properties are high value because poor people don't live in them or near them. Just take a look at Soviet Russia, which in order to house everyone forced people into communal flats. The poor have it far better under this system.
    no they don't, the poor shouldn't be forced to live in awful houses or even homelessness, when there are people hoarding away properties - it would be much better for society if we could just end the ridiculous notion of private property
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    (Original post by Reml)
    no they don't, the poor shouldn't be forced to live in awful houses or even homelessness, when there are people hoarding away properties - it would be much better for society if we could just end the ridiculous notion of private property
    But they are poor precisely because of their attitudes and the way they conduct themselves. This is reflected in council estates, that have perfectly nice homes in them but are entirely run down because the poor don't maintain them properly, and also have high crime and bad schools because they are unable to control their feral children properly. I have yet to see a society that has flourished by destroying its private property laws. On the other hand I have seen countries with no private property laws get private property laws, and the quality of life of its citizens went up remarkably in every case.
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    (Original post by Elipsis)
    But they are poor precisely because of their attitudes and the way they conduct themselves. This is reflected in council estates, that have perfectly nice homes in them but are entirely run down because the poor don't maintain them properly, and also have high crime and bad schools because they are unable to control their feral children properly. I have yet to see a society that has flourished by destroying its private property laws. On the other hand I have seen countries with no private property laws get private property laws, and the quality of life of its citizens went up remarkably in every case.
    I refuse to believe such ridiculous stereotyping of the poor, and just as a tip for next time you argue, try not to be so close-minded and tarring the group with the same brush, it just invalidates your argument
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    (Original post by mollymustard)
    My uncle was a squatter for 8 years and didn't do anyone any harm but personally I never found it that acceptable. It is a theft of property and I do think it should be taken more seriously - although a custodial sentence might be going a bit far.

    Some of the properties he squatted were properties about to be knocked down by the council for a ring road and a disused community centre, they caused more of an inconvenience in that they delayed planning and building work rather than costing anyone huge amounts of money.

    I don't think that sort of lifestyle is good for people though, I certainly think it should be a punishable offence, getting told to 'jog on' doesn't really cut it.
    Ah Mollymustard sweet as custard! So how's my purrfect cat woman? Going to teach in a secondary school, eh? Make sure it's a grammar school, you get a better quality student.
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    (Original post by Elipsis)
    Because the people who inherit, inherit from people who specifically worked to give that property/money to their children when they die. The fact those exact same people went to prison, and/or don't have any qualifications is probably also their parents fault as well. Yet people like yourself are insistent that we let such feckless parents have as many children as they like, and that we throw fistfuls of cash at them because otherwise it's unfair. Then when the feckless parent's children inevitably don't make it anywhere in life and start repeating the cycle we also have to put up with them stealing and trashing our houses as well. Like you said in the first post you put in this thread, the government will usually help with a hostel of some sort. Why you think we should provide more than the basics is beyond me... in this society we have already pretty much lost a sizeable amount of the workforce because being unemployed is simply too comfortable, why would we want to make it even more comfortable?

    I don't know what you're complaining about inequalities for. Squatters and the like are entirely reliant on inequalities to fund their worthless, contributionless life style. They need people in the city to earn millions and get taxed millions so they can get their JSA every two weeks and their free homes, as well as have their children fed and clothed (because who else is going to do that? Them? Don't make me laugh).
    Do you suggest we stop certain socio-economic groups from having children? That we let them suffer just because their parents happen to be poorer than someone else's? The state isn't doing enough to combat inequality, which is why the cycle ends up repeating itself. When something affects a whole social group, it is no longer a personal problem; it is a social problem and the responsibility of the state. Adequate housing isn't currently provided - a hostel is not a suitable permanent living situation, and it can have huge implications on someone's life chances. A child without a permanent home cannot be expected to succeed in school, and council housing has declined dramatically in the last 30 years.

    State benefits aren't to blame for high unemployment rates - there just isn't a market for their labour at the moment. A source of surplus labour is essential to capitalism, and in times of high demand, they will be utilised. I'm not denying that there are people who see claiming welfare benefits as a lifestyle choice, but that's only because the system has failed them in excluding them from all but the most low paying and low status jobs. Decreasing JSA is not an option - people can barely get by as it is. Raising the minimum wage and providing useful skills is a more effective wage of solving this problem.
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    (Original post by Reml)
    I refuse to believe such ridiculous stereotyping of the poor, and just as a tip for next time you argue, try not to be so close-minded and tarring the group with the same brush, it just invalidates your argument
    wait, you're telling elipsis not to be so close-minded in the SAME sentence that you say you "refuse (to believe)"? *cough*hypocrite*cough*

    Yes, I agree with all of Elipsis' posts.
    This isn't socialism or communism.
    If someone enters a property and "promises" not to damage it that would still be impossible. Every moment you are on a property you incur costs; now these may not be high but at the end of a day, costs occur and these are usually on the owner.

    I highly doubt a squatter is going to go and say:
    "Hey I used your building because it wasn't being used, but now that you want to use it I'll move out...oh wait let me clean it and bring it back up to the same spec I found it in".

    My proposal:
    Make it a criminal offence with all incured costs payable to the owner and atleast a 6 month stay in prison.
    Stop spending so much money on the poor so that they find it profitable to be poor, and instead re-invest that money in space exploration and colonization.

    oh, and get the queen and lords to give up their HUGE chunks of land to the open market. More space=more buildings=lower housing costs. SIMPLES
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    (Original post by Reml)
    I refuse to believe such ridiculous stereotyping of the poor, and just as a tip for next time you argue, try not to be so close-minded and tarring the group with the same brush, it just invalidates your argument
    I am generalising for the sake of argument. We really wouldn't get anywhere if we stopped debating to step to one side and made a categorical list of those who stood outside our generalisations, so as not to offend each others sensibilities, would we? It goes without saying that not all the poor are the way I described, and that by poor I mean lower class rather than working class as well.

    Now... on with the debate. What do you think Chelsea would be like if you swapped it with the people who lived in Brixton? Is it something intrinsic about Chelsea that makes people into fine upstanding citizens? Perhaps it's on some sort of magic fault line, or there is something in the water or air. Or maybe, just maybe, is everyone a fine upstanding citizen there because that is where fine upstanding citizens move to and are created/born? Once Chelsea was about 10-20% full of people from Brixton the property prices would plummet, and you'd have a flight of the majority of wealthy people from the area. The area would quickly descend into becoming like Brixton is now. Because areas are a reflection of the people that live in them, rather than a thing that moulds and shapes those who live within them. By comparison, if Brixton was miraculously filled with the Chelsea residents you'd see crime drop, the schools improve, and the general feel of the environment improve dramatically. House prices would improve and more rich people would be encouraged to move there. Suddenly the residents of Chelsea would be banging on their door again for their free hand outs. For the poor the grass is always greener, but that is only because they don't bother to water theirs.
 
 
 
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