Squatting: Social Menace or Economic Necessity?

The Associated Press



LONDON -- Like many young Londoners, 25-year-old Rueben Taylor shares a house in a neighborhood that's part scruffy, part smart. Unlike many others, she doesn't pay a penny in rent -- and that puts her at the center of an escalating battle pitting the rights of property owners against the needs of tenants squeezed out of Britain's shrinking stock of affordable homes.

Taylor is a squatter, who lives with four others in a brick and stucco 19th-century row house on a street of 600,000 pound ($950,000) homes. The owner is unhappy about the unwanted guests, but they are not committing a crime -- something that could change if the British government has its way.