[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]There have been major changes to English law recently concerning the right to defend property. Over the last decade, there was a great deal of controversy about several cases of homeowners who attempted to protect their homes, but were met with negativity from authorities and left feeling like perpetrators of a crime rather than victims. Now the tables have turned and people will have more rights when it comes to fending off criminals who enter their property.

Reasonable force

Homeowners now have the right to use reasonable force if someone enters their abode. Previously victims were left scratching their heads when they discovered an intruder on their property because they were puzzled about what to do. Short of saying ‘please get out,’ and threatening to call the police, there was nothing much else they could do as they watched burglars make off with their television set and jewelry. Now, at least they can feel a little more confident about actively removing someone who illegally enters their home with ill intent.

The next hurdle, will of course, be identifying what reasonable force actually is because no definition seems to have been made. Force can only be used if it is perceived that there is a threat to property. Whether this means that if a burglar enters someone’s home, as long as they say they meant no harm and were about to leave, they can’t be stopped by the owner isn’t clear. However, the change in law is likely to be seen as a healthy improvement on previous circumstances and may put some potential intruders off bothering to consider burglary as a career. In the past, homeowners were only allowed to assert themselves in such situations if their life was threatened; now their property is being recognised as valuable too.

Squatter’s rights

Previously, it seemed as though everyone knew someone, or of someone that was a squatter. It wasn’t only homeless people, as you might imagine, who entered empty buildings and made a bed, it was drug dealers, people who did not want to work and youngsters who just thought it was rebellious and fashionable to do so.

Lately, squatting has become a criminal offence, leaving far less leeway for potential squatters to assert their so called ‘rights’ and live in properties that don’t belong to them. English law regarding the right to defend property may still not be cut and dried when it comes to clarity, but at least it now favours victims rather than criminals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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