Squatting - How to Squat in Abandoned Property
Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use. There are one billion squatters globally, that is, about one in every six people on the planet. Yet, according to Kesia Reeve, "squatting is largely absent from policy and academic debate and is rarely conceptualized, as a problem, as a symptom, or as a social or housing movement. In many countries, squatting is in itself a crime; in others, it is only seen as a civil conflict between the owner and the occupants. "Squatters are usually portrayed as worthless scroungers hell-bent on disrupting society." Property law and the state have traditionally favored the property owner. However, in many cases where squatters had de facto ownership, laws have been changed to legitimize their status.
Squatters often claim rights over the spaces they have squatted by virtue of occupation, rather than ownership; in this sense, squatting is similar to (and potentially a necessary condition of) adverse possession, by which a possessor of real property without title may eventually gain legal title to the real property. Anarchist Colin Ward comments: "Squatting is the oldest mode of tenure in the world, and we are all descended from squatters. This is as true of the Queen [of the United Kingdom] with her 176,000 acres (710 km2) as it is of the 54 per cent of householders in Britain who are owner-occupiers. They are all the ultimate recipients of stolen land, for to regard our planet as a commodity offends every conceivable principle of natural rights." "The country is riddled with empty houses and there are thousands of homeless people. When squatters logically put the two together the result can be electrifying, amazing and occasionally disastrous."
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NOTES FOR NEW SQUATTERS
Know the laws in your area
Whatever the case may be, be willing to accept the consequences of getting caught. Squatting means occupying empty property to live in and is a necessity for many. Squatters have the same basic rights as anyone else, and can not be evicted without the owners carrying out certain civil legal proceedings first
Form a group
The people you live and work with are more important than the building that you chose. One of the most important aspects of a group is diveristy. Every group has its own style: some are more political than others; some like to party; some like to be real business-like and legal; some are arty; others are just trying to get over and off the street. Whatever your group is like, you should keep in mind that not only do you have to relate to each other, you also have to relate to your community. If your neighborhood is all the same ethnic group as the members of your group, you don't have to worry about diversity. But if your group has only token members of the main ethnic group in the neighborhood, then you could get yourself in some trouble.
Finding a Place
Look around and ask around. Local squatters’ groups and ASS have lists of empty properties, but don't rely on everyone to keep them up to date. Make sure the place is actually empty before doing anything. If you are looking at a house, it is best to squat one that has been empty for at least two or three months i.e. a little bit run down. You will probably be able to live there longer.
In theory therefore, the police can only arrest you if they catch you "red-handed", e.g. with a crowbar in your hand, or if there are witnesses.
Dealing with the Police
Do not say that you broke in. You can say you were walking past and the door was open. Be polite but firm with them. Once you are inside a place and have "secure access", (i.e. your own lock on the door) the main danger of arrest and prosecution is over. Try to get the front door reasonably secure as fast as possible (i.e. change the lock).
It is often a good idea to keep a copy of the squatters’ legal warning by the front door, because the owners may come round and try to repossess the place by pretending that they thought there was no-one living there.
If you’re hoping to use the building as a long-term squat, it is vital that you secure the premises. Replace broken windows and doors, if possible, and board them up if you can’t immediately replace them. Change the locks on the doors. In many countries (for example the UK, where squatting is a civil matter, unlike in the U.S.) this step will help you establish a legal right to be there. If you can show that you have indeed taken possession of the building, it is much more difficult to have you evicted. In the UK, it means that the owner will have to take you to court.
Operate on the assumption that you are a law-abiding citizen and a legal tenant of the building in which you are squatting until it has been decided otherwise in a court of law. Use your address freely, and get library cards, swimming cards and other forms of ID that have your address on it.
The owners are supposed to show that they have a right to the place and you don’t, and there are various ways of claiming that they haven’t proved it, haven’t gone through the procedures properly etc.
The exterior of a squat in Spain. Note the squatter symbol in the doorway on the left. Note also that while the building is colorful, it appears well-maintained. In many parts of the world, squatters can establish a legal right to occupy the property if they take care of it and establish themselves, and as a result squatters can be quite conspicuous. This squat is even decorated with political messages. In other parts of the world (such as in much of the U.S.), squatters must depend largely on their ability to go unnoticed. They can get you out without going to court. A genuine P.I.O. is either a tenant or freehold owner of the premises.A tenant of a Council or Housing Association must have a certificate proving their status. A freehold owner, or tenant of a private landlord must have a statement signed before a justice of the peace or commissioner for oaths. All PIOs must be able to move in straight away.
Establish legal property rights through a process called "adverse possession."
sourcehttp://www.urban75.comhttp://squat.nethttp://en.wikipedia.orghttp://www.wikihow.com In some cases, this may involve occupying an abandoned property for a certain period of time and/or paying the property taxes that the property owner failed to pay. This is the final goal for a long-term squatting situation, but it very rarely occurs. Research the local laws and find out what steps are necessary to make your squat a legal residence. In California, for example, you need to pay property tax for 5 years and have "cultivated or improved" the property to receive ownership. Your possession of the premises must generally also be visible and obvious.