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

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  • 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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    (Original post by ArtGoblin)
    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.
    Under Labour we saw huge huge increases in the amounts being spent on the poor in an attempt at equality... and what do we have? Even more inequality. I am as susceptible to anyone of the 'won't somebody please think of the children argument', but I am also susceptible to the argument that having these people as parents is just as damaging if not more damaging as being poor. Even if you had 1 social worker to 3 poor children on council estates, and made every school into a Jamie Oliver style dream school (which would cost nigh on 1000% of our economy), there would still be the same persistent social problems that we face. The only option, then, is to reduce the burden that these people pose on the working, because taking money out of their pocket to subsidise the feckless is clearly resulting in swelling numbers of the feckless and dwindling numbers of the hard working.

    I know these people who only have access to the 'bad' jobs. They sat next to me in class. They were told thousands of times that if they continued down the route they were taking they would end up in this position. They didn't just get out of bed one morning and find themselves in this situation. They were also taught by everyone around them to use contraception properly, but still over 1/5 of all girls in my year got pregnant and dropped out of school. They couldn't have been given more opportunities. Furthermore you also seem to forget that we need these people in our economy. Presumably you don't take your own rubbish to the dump? Or scan your own items in when you go to the cornershop? Or pour your own drinks when you go out at night? Or sew your own clothes? The travesty is that people like yourself repeatedly tell those on the lowest rungs (who are there through mostly their own fault) deserve more for less. These jobs need doing.
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    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lxW5yvpeHg4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    There are 1000's of empty homes in the uk yet we build loads of cheap crappy modern houses on our countryside because of the greed of people that own a house and do nothing with it but keep it because of its value.

    How about a massive tax on empty houses making it better for the owners to rent them out?

    Ivor
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    (Original post by Ivor)
    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lxW5yvpeHg4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    There are 1000's of empty homes in the uk yet we build loads of cheap crappy modern houses on our countryside because of the greed of people that own a house and do nothing with it but keep it because of its value.

    How about a massive tax on empty houses making it better for the owners to rent them out?

    Ivor
    i spy a communist
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    (Original post by f00ddude)
    i spy a communist
    I didnt say steal their homes, just tax them.
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    (Original post by Fusion)
    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. .
    Thats quite a naive way of thinking about this. The fact that those people don't own the house and for most cases they will not be have to face any consequences from how they treat the property, means that they aren't likely to take as much care to the house as if it was their own.
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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
    What the hell...

    Just because someone is financially worse than me, why should I have to limit what I purchase?
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    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.
    So your argument is one of necessity, that surplus or 'unused' resource should be utilised even if this is at the expense of an individual's right to their own property. With that logic, you could similarly say that people should have their savings taken away and given to the poorest of the population who can't afford basic essentials, because many people have savings that are untouched well over 10 years :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Ivor)
    I didnt say steal their homes, just tax them.
    why should they pay tax on it? they own it, they pay council tax already
    should the government suddenly charge you tax on any unused pencils or pens you have lying around unused because some people dont have them?
    its obviously not total communisim but its heading along the same lines
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    Squatters are scum. We need less scum in this country.

    Great success!
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    (Original post by f00ddude)
    why should they pay tax on it? they own it, they pay council tax already
    should the government suddenly charge you tax on any unused pencils or pens you have lying around unused because some people dont have them?
    its obviously not total communisim but its heading along the same lines
    There is no council tax on unoccupied homes in most areas. People are keeping these homes for financial gain, i dont know about anyone else but im not likely to porfit on my unused possesions such as pens and pencils.

    Companies have to pay tax on the value of its stock at the end of the year because its being used to make money, why should an individual be any different?
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    (Original post by f00ddude)
    why should they pay tax on it? they own it, they pay council tax already
    should the government suddenly charge you tax on any unused pencils or pens you have lying around unused because some people dont have them?
    its obviously not total communisim but its heading along the same lines
    Houses are a more limited resource though. The fact that you have unused pens lying around isn't making it harder for anyone to find their own pens. But if you have a huge house that's just sitting there not being used, it's preventing people from using that land. There's only so much space, and we can't just keep building more and more houses when there's loads of empty ones.

    I don't think squatters should have any rights to live on someone else's property. But at the same time I think home owners should be discouraged from leaving houses unused.

    That might be the case already. My parents own a flat that my brother lives in, and the council tax would actually be higher if he moved out and it was left unoccupied.

    edit - It might not be council tax, but there's some charge that would cost more if it was unoccupied.
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    If they're not from here then deport them and ban them from the country for a certain period of time, five years or something. If they're from here they should be made to do community service and a fine on the first offense, second offense a short stay in prison (a month or something), third a longer term custodial sentence (6 months to 1 year), and of course a criminal record.

    That said I think there should be penalties for having more than one house, as it does drive up property prices and make it harder for people to get somewhere to live. An additional tax, or something like that.
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    I usually don't take much interest in what the Government does, but squatting is the one thing that has always really got on my nerves. Honestly the laws were ridiculous, if I were to find my home occupied after an absence, and I return to find people in there, which I can barely do anything about, and even get in trouble with the law myself for breaking into my OWN home, Christ, I would be pissed. Completely for the new laws.
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    (Original post by Ivor)
    There is no council tax on unoccupied homes in most areas. People are keeping these homes for financial gain, i dont know about anyone else but im not likely to porfit on my unused possesions such as pens and pencils.

    Companies have to pay tax on the value of its stock at the end of the year because its being used to make money, why should an individual be any different?
    Capital Gains ?
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    (Original post by Liam 09)
    I usually don't take much interest in what the Government does, but squatting is the one thing that has always really got on my nerves. Honestly the laws were ridiculous, if I were to find my home occupied after an absence, and I return to find people in there, which I can barely do anything about, and even get in trouble with the law myself for breaking into my OWN home, Christ, I would be pissed. Completely for the new laws.
    I am against house squatting, but you should probably know your interpretation is wrong. If you come home off of a holiday and find your house filled with addicts the police will remove them immediately. They only have the right to commandeer uninhabited properties, or properties people mistakenly rent to them. Annoying if it's your property, but not half as annoying as being homeless because a homeless person has taken your home. I believe the law is from after the war when lots of men came home to no home, and there were plenty of uninhabited homes around because the owners were dead. These people would have treated it like their own home, and they probably would have left in due course had the rightful owner come back, so in that respect they were almost like rent-free tenants. The law, however, has been sorely abused by scum.
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    Squatting for me highlights the simple ridiculousness of property value. Land is absolutely and necessarily finite, and by occupying land by property rights and not actually physically occupying it is not doing humanity much good. Obviously if you actually do live in the property then it's another issue.

    Police should be able to evict but no punishment should be enforceable unless theft has taken place.
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    I'm not sure wether it should be illegal or not, apparently Gaddafi's son's home has been taken over by squatters as a form of protest (not sure if its really that or they actually have nowhere to live)
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    (Original post by rockrunride)
    Squatting for me highlights the simple ridiculousness of property value. Land is absolutely and necessarily finite, and by occupying land by property rights and not actually physically occupying it is not doing humanity much good. Obviously if you actually do live in the property then it's another issue.

    Police should be able to evict but no punishment should be enforceable unless theft has taken place.
    I agree. If they cause damage they should be prosecuted. If the owner wants to boot them out, then they should be chucked out within a week (enough time to clean up etc.). Prosecuting people just for inhabiting an uninhabited property is the equivalent of prosecuting someone for eating left overs from a bin, if they damage the bin on the other hand...
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    (Original post by Psyk)
    Houses are a more limited resource though. The fact that you have unused pens lying around isn't making it harder for anyone to find their own pens. But if you have a huge house that's just sitting there not being used, it's preventing people from using that land. There's only so much space, and we can't just keep building more and more houses when there's loads of empty ones.

    I don't think squatters should have any rights to live on someone else's property. But at the same time I think home owners should be discouraged from leaving houses unused.

    That might be the case already. My parents own a flat that my brother lives in, and the council tax would actually be higher if he moved out and it was left unoccupied.

    edit - It might not be council tax, but there's some charge that would cost more if it was unoccupied.
    it doesnt matter if its limited resource or not, they own them. its their property in the same way a pencil would be your property. noone has the right to suddenly say, oh your not using it in the way we want you to so we are going to tax you more (the queen can technically take w/e land she wants but the day she excersises this power is the day shes de throned)
    a better solution is to stop building council flats in prime real estate areas, a lot of them are built in the inner cities where the majority of jobs available need experiance and qualifications which they don't have, move them out to the outskirts and they will have more chance of a job, less competition for it, more space to house them and more housing for the employed in the city

    and as for your parents flat, thats because when your bro is living their he is classed as the tenant, and im guessing hes in a lower income bracket, a student, or doesnt own a second home which makes it cheaper than if your parents were the registered tenants (which is what happens if its unoccupied but owned by them)
    there are quite a few council tax discounts but all are dependant on the person classed as occupier
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    There are tens of thousands of houses, warehouses, factories, garages, etc all over the country simply unused and vacant, whilst at the same time there are tens of thousands of homeless or people of no fixed address.

    It's simply madness that in a developed country such as Britain we have houses simply sitting there not fulfilling their purpose whilst we have thousands living on the streets. Whilst I believe it is wrong to say move into a house whilst the owners are simply away on holiday, I have no problem what so ever with people occupying buildings that are simply not being used and falling into disrepair.

    There is an old corner shop near to me that has been vacant for the past 2 years, the windows are smashed and boarded up, the property is not for sale or rent, tiles are beginning to fall off the roof causing water to leak in, it's simply been abandoned. I'd have no problem what so ever with people moving in, making the building watertight and living there.
 
 
 
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