Posted by: misshawkins1 | October 11, 2011

The Issues of Squatting

The Issues of Squatting

By Lakishia Hawkins

The practice of squatting is when someone, by themselves or in groups, takes over an abandoned house, a house with no owners, or even their own house after foreclosure. In “Making Empty Houses Less Inviting to the Uninvited” Lyall’s, the author, states that, “some squatters are genuinely homeless; others appear to be anti-government or just anti-having-to-pay-rent” (Lyall). Some people have gone so far to write a squatter handbook or include websites on the practice of squatting. I’m just finding out about this recently charged crazed and on some levels I am appalled that people would actually do this, in some cases they squat in people’s homes who are vacationing or are just only away for a while. To come back home and find someone else living on their property and without being able to do anything about it just because they replace the locks is indescribable. I feel like if the government was to establish places for homeless people to live instead of ignoring them it would prevent the practice of squatting on some levels.

I’m going to tell my personal experiences I had when dealing with the homeless just as a regular person walking pass them in the streets. One instance I can remember is when I traveled up north, there it is much more in your face than down south, I saw a few homeless men sleeping on the streets and I was shocked and appalled. I was in my teenage years then and I felt like the presence of the homeless living on the streets damaged the aesthetical outlook; it wasn’t pleasing to my eyes. Also since I was sheltered more than other kids my childhood I didn’t understand why someone would try to prevent themselves from being homeless. With the concept of eco-psychology I begin to see that the modern American views outside as outside, it is a place where one goes to travel to other areas that are inside, or for recreational purposes. To actually see people living on the street is something most people, including myself, can’t understand. Why would anyone put themselves in a position where they have to live outside or in the wilderness? We tend to mark those people as “mentally unstable, lazy, and criminals”. They are not like us as we live inside, they are animals because they live outside, from this we demean them and look down on them considering them less than a fellow human.

On WikiHow they have an article detailing “How to Squat in Abandoned Property” mapped out in steps for the everyday person. Along with each step the author(s) provide a synopsis of how to accomplish each step.  At the end it features a title section “Warning” which explains the dangers of squatting. The articles mentions to squatters that they need to get a “color of title” document which helps a squatters gain possession of the property. The Color of title document is:

The appearance of having title to personal or real property by some evidence, but in reality there is either no title or a vital defect in the title. One might show a title document to real property, but in reality he/she may have deeded the property to another; a patent to an invention may have passed to the inventor’s widow, who sells the rights to one party and then, using the original patent documents, sells the patent to a second party based on this ‘color of title’

This document shows just how iffy our governmental laws can be. If anyone can come in your house, changing the lock, pay for utilities, does that mean they officially have a right to live there? Instead of making laws like this the government should locate the source of where the need for squatting originates and produces laws to prevent the need.

The frequently publicized squatter issues are based in the UK; I was interested in finding squatters in America so I found an article titled “All-American Squatters” by Thomas. The article attributes the increase in American squatting to the recession and foreclosure of homes. An organization called “Take Back the Land” is mentioned which is founded on providing the homeless with foreclosed homes in which to live, actually influencing homeless people to take up squatting. Although most people squat because they have nowhere else to go others squat for financial purposes. In “Squatting rises in the U.S. along with foreclosures” Szep talks about the negative sides to squatting focusing on two things, some squatter’s squat to get “cash for keys” which the banks pays them to leave, and other squatters act as tenants and illegally rent the property out to unsuspecting victims for cash. The squatting practice can be used by thieves and people are good-willed alike, the government needs to regulate home foreclosures to prevent the need for squatting.

WORKS CITED

“How to Squat in Abandoned Property.” Wikihow.com. WikiHow, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. < http://www.wikihow.com/Squat-in-Abandoned-Property&gt;.

Lyall, Sarah. “Making Empty Homes Less Inviting to the Uninvited.” NYTIMES.com. The New York Times, 04 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. < http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/world/europe/britain-plans-to-tighten-anti-squatter-laws.html&gt;.

Szep, Jason. “Squatting rises in U.S. along with foreclosures.” NYTIMES.com. The New York Times, 19 May. 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/business/worldbusiness/19iht-home.1.13005526.html&gt;.

Thomas, Jake. “All-American Squatters.” Inthesetimes.com. In These Times, 23 Jun. 2009. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. < http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4506/all-american_squatters&gt;.

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Responses

  1. Great blog. We are all squatters!


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