Dutch lawmakers approve anti-squatting law

16th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The bill, if approved by the upper house of parliament, would make squatting punishable by up to a year or two behind bars.

The Hague – Dutch lawmakers gave the green light Thursday to a draft law that will make the squatting of empty buildings illegal.

The bill, a initiative of the ruling Christian Democrats, the liberal VVD and the Christian Union, would make squatting punishable by up to a year behind bars -- or up two if violence or intimidation are used.

"There was a vote in the lower house, and the bill was approved," a parliament spokesman told AFP. It has yet to be officially approved by the senate.

Squatting had been allowed in the Netherlands if a building had been empty for more than a year.

This has given rise to a unique anti-squatting industry, with firms renting out buildings, often to students, at much reduced monthly rates to stave off unwanted tenants.

Many property owners have opted for this option as slumping property sales leave them at risk.

"It cannot be allowed that a group of people claim the right for themselves to move in wherever they want, taking over other people's property," a VVD spokesman told AFP.

AFP / Expatica

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