Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

June – July 2024 : Reflections READ ONLINE


Squats for rent?

March 09 2011
An "interesting little business" - but illegal

There have been reports of an individual loitering outside some London homeless shelters offering places in squats for money. A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Pavement that they had seen a man waiting for people to be turned away from shelters before offering them places in houses in the Highgate area.

Posting on the online microblogging site Twitter, the witness said: "Man outside night shelter was recruiting those turned away for his squats. He opens squats as a business in Highgate. He has over 300 beds operating in houses at any one time (360 I think he said). Interesting little business. You see it all on the streets."

Myk Zeitlin, from the Advisory Service for Squatters, which offers legal help for squatters in London, said that, although it is legal for people to open squats for themselves in certain circumstances, it is illegal to charge money for rooms in squats, and the Squatters' Advisory Service "certainly discourages" the practice. He told The Pavement: "We do not know this person and we do not support charging money for squats.

"We also hear of people renting out properties under the pretence that they have a right to do so when they don't and this is illegal and we certainly discourage it.

"We give advice to people on how to open squats for themselves. There are also weekly practical squatters' evenings, rotating between East and South London where people can get help opening places."