Get off my Land
Leafing through the pages of the Evening Standard last night via horror stories of abandoned puppies and DJs earning £56 a minute, I came across the article about three squatters who have occupied a house in Kennington next door to Commons Leader Geoff Hoon. My first thoughts were that they would be uneducated, dirty old drunks, but how wrong I was. One is a Spanish teacher with a BA in media studies, another is a barman with a degree in Cinematography and the third is studying for a Bsc in environmental management at Birkbeck.
When I was 16, I was an ideal candidate for the Young Conservatives ranting and raving about lazy arsed dole-bludgers and teenage mothers getting themselves up the duff to get on the housing list, but I'm becoming decidedly more lefty as I get older. The house they've claimed as their own has been unoccupied for the past 18 months and if they stay for more than 12 years, they can legally claim it as their own, so who can blame them? They've cleaned it up, brought in furniture and they pay all the bills. One of them is in the process of getting an education, but how can they be expected to pay exorbitant London rent fees and study at the same time?
On the other hand, the law stipulates that the owner would have to obtain a court order to get them removed – I don't particularly agree with this and if I was a landlord I wouldn't be at all happy. Why should you have to fight to win back something that is rightfully yours? But if that's the law as it stands then people are bound to take advantage.
When the time comes to buy a house, it won't be windows of property agencies I'll be browsing, it'll be this.