Who is a squatter?

A fairly normal afternoon at ASS (Advisory Service for Squatters), and a fairly typical call…

The bloke, and his pregnant wife, are renting from someone whose tenancy doesn’t allow them to sub-let. The landlady is demanding more money and threatening to come back and kick them out. He went to various places for advice. The council told him that he had no rights (untrue) because the tenancy was illegal (untrue) and suggested he might want to look into “squatters rights”.

It took me some time to reassure him that he has a tenancy, even if his landlady lied in it, and that he is protected by the Protection from Eviction Act (as well as, and better than Section 6 Criminal Law Act). He can legally enforce his rights against his landlady (in theory at least) while her landlords will have to end her tenancy and go to court to get rid of him or anyone else.

But as so often those in authority ignore (sub)tenants’ rights and confuse tenants with squatters. How much worse will this be if squatting is criminalised?