Online guide to combat squatters
An online guide offering legal advice to people wanting to stop squatters from entering their property has been published.
The guide reveals that anyone looking to remove squatters from their home can apply for an Interim Possession Order, which requires squatters to leave the property within 24 hours, while it is then an offence for the squatter to return to the property within 12 months of the Interim Possession Order being issued.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said: "I want to shut the door to squatters once and for all, and for homeowners to know their rights just as well as those looking to take over their properties.
"That's why today I'm publishing advice making clear how the law is on their side, and that there are steps they can take to take back their home quickly and effectively."
Mr Shapps has criticised the Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) which he claimed in some circumstances acted like an estate agent for squatters.
He told the BBC: "It's wrong, it's unfair. People find their properties have been occupied and it can be quite difficult to rectify the situation.
"Most people would be pretty surprised to learn that there is an office to help squatters, an advisory service.
"But the difference now with online services... their forum, you will see people saying 'I've got one we are going to occupy. Anyone want to come and join us? It's a very nice home in Surrey' and I think it is just wrong that there is no contrary advice out there."
However, Katharine Hibbert, who works with the service, denied people were advertising squats to occupy via its forum.
She told the BBC: "It's really unnecessarily alarmist to talk about people's homes in this kind of context."