At present if a householder leaves a window open, squatters can get in and can legally occupy a house until an expensive High Court order has been obtained. This can take weeks or months.
If a small landlord is doing up a property and builders leave a window or door open to bring building materials in or let paint fumes out the same applies.
in 99% of cases squatters are parasites who leach off property that would genuinely be owner or tenant occupied. It is very rare for property owners to genuinely be unaware of property that they own (the GLC famously forgot to transfer some expensive Council stock to London Boroughs but that is rare).
Change the law so a High Court order is unnecessary. If a house already has an occupant or building work is in progress, give the owner the owner or tenant the right to call the Police and regain the property the very same day, subject only to proof of identity, eg Debit Card checked against Electoral Register.
"Squatters Rights are important because some landlords deliberately keep property vacant" ~ if the Government wants to preserve David-v-Goliath laws, keep Squatters Rights, but only where the squatter can proove that a property has been unoccupied for more than 6 months, eg dated photographs showing the passing of the seasons.
And put effective laws in place to recover court costs and repairs – "Oh I found it like that" should not be an excuse.
Why is this idea important?
Councils spend thousands protecting houses and flats with steel shutters and even security guards while they repair them and wait for new tenants to move in, Sometimes tenants have to give notice on places they are leaving. Sometimes parts have to be ordered, or there are not enough decoraters/plmbers/etc to fix a flat instantly. This can result in a property sitting empty of weeks, but that is not long in the context of a 10 or 20 year tenancy.
Vast amounts of public money are wasted on armour for flats.
Private sector landlords move heaven and earth to get a Protected Incoming Occupant the day a property becomes vacant. This creates market distortions.
Squatting discourages potential landlords.
Squatting is fundamentally unfair and a form of theft. It should not be tolerated.