MPs set to support ban on squatting

MPs look likely to vote in favour of a ban on squatting after parties backing the ban made concessions to win the support of Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration party PVV.

According to Nos tv, the ban’s supporters have agreed to double the maximum prison term for squatters to one year and to bring in tougher penalties for squatters using violence.
The legislation to ban squatting has been drawn up by the two Christian coalition parties CDA and ChristenUnie together with the opposition Liberal party VVD. Wilders’ support is necessary to get a majority in parliament.
The bill also includes measures to stop property owners leaving their buildings vacant for long periods.
Housing minister Eberhard van der Laan, a member of the Labour party which opposes the ban, has said he would abide by parliament’s decision.
Squatting is already technically illegal in the Netherlands but if property has been abandoned for a year, they can only be evicted from property if the owner has concrete plans for it, says Trouw.
Supporters of the ban say little is left of the ideology-based squatting movement of the 1970s and 80s which campaigned against property speculation and high rents.
The mayors of the country’s four biggest cities are opposed to a ban, saying it would be unworkable.

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