New squatting laws to benefit landlords, says Robinson and Hall
Landlords are set to benefit from a new law that comes into action in September this year, which makes squatting in residential UK property a criminal offence.
The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was given royal assent in May, enabling courts to hand squatters a fine of up to £5,000, while a six-month prison sentence is another available punishment.
Kellie Marsh, lettings manager at Robinson and Hall, said that she was intrigued as to how the process was going to work in the long term.
"It sounds like the government will have an increased work load and we are only putting another black mark against someone who may already have many," she added.
She noted that in order to protect their portfolio of properties, landlords should make sure that they are signed up with an experienced local agent who will be able to market and manage their buildings.
There are numerous benefits to this, which include the fact that some agents will make regular visits to each house to check that it has not been broken in to, while neighbours will also be contacted so that they can get in touch if anything suspicious is spotted.
"Homeowners should also ensure that their property is secure at all times with the correct locks on doors and windows and pay regular visits to their property if it is empty. It sounds obvious but landlords should never leave keys outside under mats or plant pots. This is probably the first place a squatter will look," she added.
Television presenter Richard Madeley was recently announced as the new host of an ITV show which focuses on squatters.
He will question the unwelcome guests on why they choose to take over other people's homes, while landlords will also be interviewed to find out the knock-on effects.
According to The Sun, the show will air in the autumn and could feature Madeley swapping his own home for a night of squatting.
Posted at 12:39 18/07/2012