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“MySpace invaders” take their cue from the law

Considering how good squatters have it in England and Wales, I find it hard to take the faux-incredulousness in the British press about people who organize themselves on MySpace before going into unoccupied homes and destroying them for the fun of it. The law of the land has such little regard for property rights that it should come as a shock to no one that these teenagers do not, either.

5 comments to “MySpace invaders” take their cue from the law

  • nick g.

    Is it also true, as I read on an American site, that local British councils can invade people’s homes and force them to pay parking fines?
    If so, why do you worry about Shi’ites, when you’ve got shites in office?

  • guy herbert

    Nick g., it is far worse than that.

    Some miscellaneous examples.






    There’s very little control that your local authority doesn’t have over your property. You, however, may not evict trespassers if you aren’t in occupation yourself, (or malignant tenants) without court process.

    Pace Jackie, I’d reject the 60s/70s remodelling of the language by countercultural scumbags so that “squatting” became synonymous with seizing property from owners that wanted it (usually with some moralistic overtone about desert), and defying them to remove you. Old fashioned squatters rights – acquiring property by adverse possession if you occupy it for a term of some years without either permission or objection from the nominal owner – is, I think, a useful and humane institution.

    However it is one that has effectively been abolished in England and Wales since 2005. Why? Because most owners actually care for their property (unless they’ve deliberately abandoned it, or died without heirs) squatters rights have predominantly been exercised in recent years against local authorities and other statal bodies, which for 100 years have been habitually seizing property and letting it rot.

    No slippage of the ratchet will be tolerated long.

    If it were up to me, I’d remove the land register notice provisions form 2005, and restore immemorial squatter’s rights; but I’d deal with invasive ‘squatters’ (and ramblers), by making trespass a criminal matter if the trespasser failed to leave in reasonable time, or returned, after proper notice from the lawful occupier. (Some careful analysis of existing law required to make it clear that trespassers and arrantly delinquent tenants couldn’t be deemed lawful occupiers.)

    Note that my approach is not the same as making all trespass a crime (let alone all trespass only on certain state premises, as under ss128-131 od the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, for example). It is only trespass against the objection of the rightful occupier, and moderated by a potential court determination of reasonableness. So I could let the hunt cross my land, or deny it as I see fit. But I couldn’t expect someone quietly asleep in a tent on a bit of unmarked moorland at midnight to pick up their posessions and undertake a 10 mile route-march to somewhere, anywhere, else.

  • nicholas gray

    It seems that the people of Britain have let the laws and regulations of the land sap their blood dry. Can’t you arouse them to repeal these red-tape monsters! In this book that I keep re-writing, the gang of criminals turn out to be a combination of the Freemasons and the Resistance, who think their own governments are the enemy, and who offer permanent resistance to the encroachments found in everyday life. Their motto is ‘Liberating Victimless Underdogs!’, and they free ‘criminals’ like drug-dealers and such. We all need something like that now! Can’t you start such a group? Perhaps they could sell jail-insurance to decent criminals, or sell marijuana, or weapons to disarmed citizens (shades of Van Vogt’s “The Weapon Shop”!). you need it more than we do, but we’ll be next!

  • GH

    During the 70’s and 80’s, local councils in London, and very likely elsewhere, when desirous of re-developing an extensive area, would purchase one or two properties, within the designated area, and then invite squatter groups to occupy the empty properties. Positively encouraging them to over occupy premises and to generally be a public nuisance.

    The purpose of all this was to reduce a neighbourhood to as low a level as possible, thereby reducing the property values, and the subsequent prices paid to freeholders when it came to compulsory purchase time.

    When the Council had ‘cleared’ an area, it was then able to sell it on to developers at a substantial profit.

    We tend to berate developers, but Local Councils are probably the more scambrous group, and just as corrupt in their methods.

  • guy herbert

    We tend to berate developers, but Local Councils are probably the more scambrous group, and just as corrupt in their methods.

    We? What makes you think it is any business of mine to “berate developers”?