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Commercial property news – New law on squatting is bad news for businesses

21st September 2012

Julian Briant, of Cluttons, said that owners of vacant commercial buildings will now need to be extremely vigilant as potential squatters turn their attentions from residential properties to unused business premises in their pursuit of a place to live.

In what has been seen as a long overdue move, which has generally been welcomed by residential conveyancing solicitors, estate agents and home owners, the new rules mean that those caught squatting in a residential property could face a £1,000 fine or a one-year jail sentence.

However, this legislation has been seen by some as being too narrow and that commercial properties have now been left as a target for the homeless.

Briant said, “Sheds, office blocks, retail units and industrial buildings will all become fair game for squatters for whom the risk of ‘getting’ on to their particular residential property ladder is too great.”

Commercial property lawyers are also concerned that, as this matter will still be a civil issue, business owners whose interests are undermined by squatters will fall further down the list of priorities for police and the courts.

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