Could a recent and controversial change in the law making squatting a criminal offence in vacant domestic property increase the risk in your vacant commercial property at this time on year!!

On September 1, 2012, Britain’s controversial squatting law changed. It is now illegal for squatters to inhabit domestic property under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act. 

However, commercial buildings are not covered by the legislation. The increased number of vacant business premises being taken over by squatters since the change in the law suggests this omission will have significant repercussions for commercial landlords and insurers alike.

Given some 15% of commercial property in the UK stands vacant and with nearly 50,000 empty shops already on UK high streets, a shift towards squatting in these properties was inevitable when the new legislation simply shifted the problem from the homeowner to the business owner.

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