Part 3Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders

CHAPTER 9Offences

144Offence of squatting in a residential building

(1)A person commits an offence if—

(a)the person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser,

(b)the person knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser, and

(c)the person is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.

(2)The offence is not committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or licence (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building).

(3)For the purposes of this section—

(a)“building” includes any structure or part of a structure (including a temporary or moveable structure), and

(b)a building is “residential” if it is designed or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live.

(4)For the purposes of this section the fact that a person derives title from a trespasser, or has the permission of a trespasser, does not prevent the person from being a trespasser.

(5)A person convicted of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (or both).

(6)In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (5) to 51 weeks is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(7)For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) it is irrelevant whether the person entered the building as a trespasser before or after the commencement of this section.

(8)In section 17 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (entry for purpose of arrest etc)—

(a)in subsection (1)(c), after sub-paragraph (v) insert—

(vi)section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (squatting in a residential building);;

(b)in subsection (3), for “or (iv)” substitute “, (iv) or (vi)”.

(9)In Schedule 10 to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (consequential amendments), omit paragraph 53(b).