Squatters’ rights — does crime pay?

In 2012, squatting in residential buildings in England and Wales became a criminal offence.

Before the law changed, a displaced occupier could call the police, who had the power to arrest the trespasser, but the owners of empty properties were not protected as (unless damage was caused when entering) no crime was committed.

So does this mean no more ‘squatters’ rights’? Well, according to the government, yes. However, the High Court has recently held that an adverse possession claim can be based on criminal trespass…

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