Campaign Launched to Deny Squatters Commercial Property Rights

A campaign has recently been launched by an MP to extend the illegality of squatting to commercial properties. The property law campaign was launched following the occupation of a boarded-up and disused public house named the Upper Bell Inn which is in Blue Bell Hill near Chatham, Kent. The locals are backing up the MP to have a law pushed through, stating that the legislation must be amended in order to remove the squatters before damage is caused. Tracy Crouch, MP for Aylesford and Chatham is stating that the law must be extended from residential to commercial businesses, citing the fact that squatting in commercial properties is not a victimless crime.

commercial properties

Commercial Properties Rights

In an interview with the press, Crouch voiced concerns over the fact that there are so many disused pubs scattered throughout the country which are currently boarded up. The laws could mean that the refugee squatters could begin occupying small pubs all over the country. However, some critics have said that publicising such opportunities via the mainstream media is only going to help perpetuate the problem. Crouch told the press in a recent interview that she felt it imperative to have some clarity injected into the situation, especially for cases such as public houses where the use is mixed between residential and business. She finished by saying that people needed to know where they stand.

The news story comes just a few months after a decision to make a review of the property rates law for empty commercial buildings in the UK. The decision came as the Estates Gazette unrecovered information using the Freedom of Information Act which illustrated that the government itself spending over £50 million every year on its own business rates. A number of MPs got on board in order to shuffle around the legislation so as to avoid rates on empty commercial properties at least heavily discount them in order to save the government’s coffers. At the time this information came to light, many small business owners were optimistic about the potential money saved but the new squatting law has changed the perspective on things It’s a concern of many that opportunistic squatters will take to occupying commercial properties at an alarming rate.

Since start of this month, a new law states that anyone found in an empty residential home could face a prison sentence of up to 6 months. Further chiming in on behalf of the campaigners was Steven Cross, a security expert resident in Maidstone who reiterated that small business owners could not sustain costs created by squatters. Cross went on to add that owners of some of the owners of smaller properties could potentially have to fold their businesses as a direct result of damage caused by the squatters occupying their buildings.

Steve also mentioned to the press how he’d been in discussions with Crispin Blunt, the Minister of Justice, who’d agreed that it was vital to pass properties back into the hands of the rightful owners once the squatters were evicted.

For advice on any aspect of commercial property or for residential property conveyancing, visit Darlingtons Solicitors, who are accredited property law experts.

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