'We've just moved in Yer Honour
Can our Wayne borrow the car tonight?'
I've never understood the term 'squatters rights'. What right does anyone have to enter into someone's home without their permission?
Fortunately I've never had the sordid experience of trying to evict squatters from my property but I remember it happening to a work colleague many years ago. She had only been married for a couple of years and they had spent all their spare cash lovingly refurbishing their two-up-two-down end of terrace in one of the London boroughs. They'd won a weekend at a posh hotel as a raffle prize and because they hadn't had a holiday since their marriage, both were looking forward to the break.
On the Monday she telephoned to say she needed the day off to see to urgent personal matters and we were concerned. Upon her return to work the next day she told us the horrific story. Squatters had broken into their home during the weekend and refused to move out. The police could no nothing she said and they were now living with his parents while they started the lengthy process of going to court to seek an eviction order. They spent thousands on legal fees and the stress caused her health problems.
When they finally managed to gain their home back the destruction was beyond belief and they had no strength left to begin again, so they sold the property and moved into rented accommodation. Whether they ever bought another house I don't know but, having witnessed first hand the mental damage squatters can do, I could understand if they decided never to buy a house again.
All these years later squatters appear to still have 'rights'. They are criminals and should be treated as such. Breaking and entering is a crime yet somehow squatters manage to evade that legislation.
The Westminster government is 'considering' changing the law to ensure squatting becomes a crime. How many more people will have to endure the horror of finding their house occupied by a stranger before the politicians act?