Another response to the Daily Mail
On the 19th January both Andrew Levy and Max Hastings wrote about people referred to as “Moldovan squatters”.
Unlike them, we would not claim to know all the facts without having seen any evidence, but would still like to point out some clear inaccuracies.
Firstly Mr Levy’s article which at least presents itself as “news”
If it is true that the people occupying the property are squatters it will not take eight months and thousands of pounds for them to be evicted. There are existing laws that make removal of squatters pretty quick and easy. In fact this could probably have been sorted by now. If, however, these people are not squatters, having been given a tenancy by people with a right to do so, then they will have protection which will make the process longer and more costly.
Mrs Mason does not have to pay for the electricity being used, she merely has to contact the provider and say that she is no longer responsible.
There is no evidence that any of the people occupying the property “broke in through the back door”. If there were the police would be following up on it, and the neighbours would not have “presumed [they] were the new owners”.
As for the title, it clearly designed to stir up tensions against people because of their nationality. The fact that this is Mrs Mason’s “childhood home” is rather irrelevant as she is selling it, and has previously rented it out. The nationality of the people involved (later in the article they are “believed to be Moldovan”) is, or should be, irrelevant, and the word “invaded” is untrue and offensive.
I also notice that the fact that the woman occupying the property is “heavily pregnant” does not elicit the sort of sympathy shown by the newspaper for Mr and Mrs Cokerell who could not immediately move into the property they had bought in Hampstead but did already have somewhere to have their child.
As for Mr Hastings, he is clearly trying to offend and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but we can’t let his bigotry or errors go unchallenged.
Firstly he seems to think that an “orderly society” would be one where a property owner’s assertion would be enough to get people occupying a property summarily removed by police. This would mean an end to any tenancy rights as the owners could simply claim that the occupiers are trespassers. Such cases have already been seen by the Advisory Service for Squatters, and others. But Mr Hastings would only like such a system for people he decides are foreigners.
He seems to believe, despite the evidence, that squatters get legal aid for lawyers to represent them in court. Lawyers can only take on winnable cases and if the occupiers have no legal arguments they can’t get a solicitor. Tenants, on the other hand, can get, and often need representation.
Max Hastings, like your publication in general, picks the “injustices” he chooses to rant about on the basis of the nationality of the people involved. He fails to look into the facts of why his version of “justice” has not been followed, but rants further at the system that has apparently let him down. His attacks are racist because they deliberately give the impression that it is “foreigners” who are the problem, along with those do-gooders who support them, when in fact anti-social behaviour is carried out by people of all nationalities, and no law will ever stop this.