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Irish landlord gets squatter's rights

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#16 jakem1

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:32

There's no such offence as breaking and entering in the uk. Burglary is breaking in with dishonest intent, eg theft, rape, assault or criminal damage. If you wandered into someone's house through an open door uninvited to admire the decor then left, I don't think you're actually guilty of anything. The difficulty would be proving your case before a magistrate or jury. if you broke a door or window in the process of getting in to admire the decor, that would be criminal damage.


Ah yes, you and Hum are right. Funny because I always think of burgling as stealing rather than breaking in.


#17 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:41

Ah yes, you and Hum are right. Funny because I always think of burgling as stealing rather than breaking in.


That's because the vast majority of burglaries are committed for the purpose of theft, so it's easy to see why you'd make the connection. :p

#18 abecedarian paradoxious

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:47


The house itself was stolen; that's not burglary?
I do wonder if it's possible to steal from a dead person without named heir(s) though....

Over here, property left by the deceased without heir is forfeit to the government and auctioned off.

If I remember correctly, USA squatters can only stake claim if the property shows obvious apparent evidence of abandonment and disuse / neglect.
Additionally, if the owners are paying property taxes, this is sufficient proof the property / dwelling has not been abandoned.


There's no such offence as breaking and entering in the uk. Burglary is breaking in with dishonest intent, eg theft, rape, assault or criminal damage. If you wandered into someone's house through an open door uninvited to admire the decor then left, I don't think you're actually guilty of anything. The difficulty would be proving your case before a magistrate or jury. if you broke a door or window in the process of getting in to admire the decor, that would be criminal damage.

I'd think wandering into dwellings, univited, locked or unlocked, much like wandering onto private property would be considered trespass. Obviously, to enter a dwelling one must traverse the property surrounding it, unless perchance one came in through the roof via parachute.

Maybe that's the difference between how things are looked upon there versus here.

Theft is permanently depriving somebody of something, which you clearly can't do to a dead person. It's not theft.


Technically, you can steal from a dead person. Though the deceased person in the OP had no clearly defined will or such establishing transferrence of ownership to another party, what would happen were a previously unknown daughter or son, sister or brother, maybe even long-lived mother or father even... what if someone came forward and claimed lawful inheritance tomorrow? Perhaps legitimate heirs weren't aware of their sibling's passing until after reading this judgment in the local paper?
Then you run up against such things as due diligence, statute of limitations, and the like. We are speaking of someone whom experienced death some 30 years ago, and birth a fair time before that when birth records were easily falsified and many even unreported.

#19 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:48

I guess it is a law designed to prevent unused, uncared for buildings -- beats me.

^ Should be burglary if the owners are gone a short time.


It's not an offence at the moment so long as the door was unlocked. It can't be burglary for the reasons I mentioned in my other post. You can't trespass when the house is unlocked and unoccupied at the point of entry.

I say "at the moment" because I think the government are planning on making squatting in residential properties illegal, from what I've read.

The law protects squatters because of the need for shelter - it seems unjust that people are homeless when there are unoccupied houses around.

#20 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:58

I'd think wandering into dwellings, univited, much like wandering onto private property would be considered trespass. Maybe that's the difference between how things are looked upon there and here.


It's only trespass when it's occupied in this country. If you walk through an open door but people are occupying the property, it's trespass and you must leave, but if nobody is there, you have squatter's rights.

Technically, you can steal from a dead person. Though the deceased person in the OP had no clearly defined will or such establishing transferrence of ownership to another party, what would happen were a previously unknown daughter or son, sister or brother even... what if someone came forward and claimed lawful inheritance tomorrow? Perhaps legitimate heirs weren't aware of their sibling's passing until after reading this judgment in the local paper?
Then you run up against such things as due diligence, statute of limitations, and the like. We are speaking of someone whom experienced death some 30 years ago, and birth a fair time before that when birth records were easily falsified and many even unreported.


You can't STEAL from a dead person. You could perhaps commit some other form of offence, but it can't be theft. A dead person can't "own" something because they're not alive. It would probably fall under some other kind of dishonesty offence.

#21 vetCalum

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 20:00

In the circumstances you describe the squatters have a right to be there until evicted by a court order, but there's no way anybody can lose their property just like that. It has to have been unoccupied for X amount of years.

Squatters rights only applies when the squatters enter through an unlocked door/window, so lock your property every time you go out and you have the full protection of the law.

Perhaps I should read up on it more then because Daybreak and other media outlets stated that by law, a squater can claim a property if they merely occupy it by entering through an unlocked door or window, even if the property is not unoccupied.

#22 Hardcore Til I Die

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 20:06

Perhaps I should read up on it more then because Daybreak and other media outlets stated that by law, a squater can claim a property if they merely occupy it by entering through an unlocked door or window, even if the property is not unoccupied.


Yeah Daybreak's talking rubbish.

A squatter can claim a property as their own after they've lived there for X amount of years (I think seven), so long as they entered through an unlocked/door window into an unoccupied property when they first went in (entered legally in other words). If the rightful owner returns and finds squatters in their property, they either have to convince the squatters to leave or pursue a court order through the civil courts, which is very expensive and can be quite time consuming. Daybreak may have been referring to what happens if the rightful owner can't afford to bring about court proceedings, as they have no legal rights to evict the squatters until they secure a court order.

Squatters have no rights when the property is occupied, because if the rightful owner manages to convince the squatter to allow them to reside at the property, the squatter forfeits all rights. Therefore if the property is occupied the squatter has no rights to begin with. This is why the initial recommendation is try to reason with the squatters, perhaps offer a reward for them to vacate the premises. It must be a very difficult situation because it seems like it would be very difficult to be nice to people who've taken it upon themselves to live in your house without your authority, but that's apparently the best way to deal with the situation!

Interesting and peculiar area of law to say the least.

#23 vetCalum

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 20:36

Yeah Daybreak's talking rubbish.

A squatter can claim a property as their own after they've lived there for X amount of years (I think seven), so long as they entered through an unlocked/door window into an unoccupied property when they first went in (entered legally in other words). If the rightful owner returns and finds squatters in their property, they either have to convince the squatters to leave or pursue a court order through the civil courts, which is very expensive and can be quite time consuming. Daybreak may have been referring to what happens if the rightful owner can't afford to bring about court proceedings, as they have no legal rights to evict the squatters until they secure a court order.

Squatters have no rights when the property is occupied, because if the rightful owner manages to convince the squatter to allow them to reside at the property, the squatter forfeits all rights. Therefore if the property is occupied the squatter has no rights to begin with. This is why the initial recommendation is try to reason with the squatters, perhaps offer a reward for them to vacate the premises. It must be a very difficult situation because it seems like it would be very difficult to be nice to people who've taken it upon themselves to live in your house without your authority, but that's apparently the best way to deal with the situation!

Interesting and peculiar area of law to say the least.

Thank you very much for taking the time to explain to me. I appreciate it :)

#24 thechronic

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 20:52

Some people have returned from holiday to find that their house has been taken over by someone while they were away, and the law allows it


Actually that is nonsense. IF a property is currently occupied then squatters cannot take possession of the property and in order to be considered legally squatters, with full rights they must have been present undisturbed at the property for a period of 10 years, or 12 years for unregistered property.

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#25 blade1269

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:17

It's a big issue in the United Kingdom. Some people have returned from holiday to find that their house has been taken over by someone while they were away, and the law allows it, so those people no longer have a house. It's terrible and a ridiculous happening.


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#26 OP Hum

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 21:17

If you break in and are staying in someone else's house, you are obviously using the water, electricity, food, etc.

It is burglary.

#27 Davo

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 22:00

Why the hell do squatters' rights exist?

#28 Detection

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 22:23

Why the hell do squatters' rights exist?


They don't where I am from ;)

Forget the law, the door would be kicked through and they would be out in seconds

#29 OP Hum

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 16:24

Why the hell do squatters' rights exist?

I think it is a law left over from long ago.

Properties were abandoned, the owners died and there were no heirs.

Empty buildings can be an eyesore and a hazard.

And I suppose empty property can't be taxed, if there is no owner.