Oh for the halcyon days of strolling along a picturesque, tree lined street in admiration of its lovingly maintained houses, spotting an empty one and moving in on a whim, rent and mortgage free.

From tomorrow, the 1st September, squatting will be a criminal offence. Some might say, ‘What, it wasn’t already?’

Indeed not.

Commandeering a vacant semi in Blightyville has, until now, been totally acceptable. Legally at least.

Whilst there is, perhaps, a case for matching the plethora of empty UK properties to individuals that need housing, there is certainly little justification for occupying a home that has been left empty for a short period of time by an owner that may be ‘mid tenant’ or about to undertake refurbishment works. Long term empty public sector property such as the 7000 Ministry of Defence homes currently left wanting? That’s a different thing altogether of course.

But, in our humble view, to protect the average home owner from coming home from a summer holiday to find Swampy & Co with their feet up in front of your telly, is quite the right thing to do.

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