Squatting stories continue to dominate the national press. Just in the last few days, the papers have published several items on squatters, including one about a doctor and his pregnant wife who could not get into their property when they wanted to.

Russell-Cooke's property solicitors (both commercial and residential) are concerned that there appears to be a misunderstanding about the current legal position. Many articles focus on the need to criminalise squatting, but there are already a range of criminal offences concerned with squatting, particularly relating to residential homes. The Government has highlighted this in its consultation paper, but has put forward ideas for possible extensions of the criminal offences.

The Government made its guidance more visible on what to do about squatters back in July 2011, when it issued a consultation paper on possible changes to the law. That consultation ends on 5th October 2011. Please revisit the Russell-Cooke website for future news items on this matter.

It is true that using the courts to evict squatters can be expensive and take some time. Perhaps it would be better to look at the existing, court-based procedures, and seek to simplify and accelerate them.

We are regularly consulted about squatters claims, whether concerning residential or commercial property. For help and further information please contact the following solicitors: Edward Cracknell or Stephen Small.

For further reading, click here to view an earlier Russell-Cooke news item, where head of property litigation partner, Jason Hunter commented on the Highgate squatters on ITV and BBC news.