Definition of squatter in US English:



  • 1A person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land.

    • ‘After being empty for years, the boarded-up building is now home to a trio of squatters, who have dubbed themselves ‘land pirates’.’
    • ‘It has been one month since squatters occupied the old Woodwards building in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.’
    • ‘But so far only around 200 farms have been taken over and the government has evicted squatters who took over land themselves after the launch of its resettlement scheme in July.’
    • ‘Although Duvenage has been through all the legal channels he has been unable to either sell his land to government or evict the squatters.’
    • ‘Many Roma in Western Europe are squatters, occupying condemned buildings while trying to find more suitable accommodations.’
    • ‘To evict squatters, property owners must take out a summons for possession in the County Court or High Court or produce a written statement or certificate under the Criminal Law Act 1977.’
    • ‘The Johannesburg council, however, plans to evict the squatters so that the building can be revamped as part of its inner city regeneration programme.’
    • ‘A Judge today ordered squatters occupying a dilapidated York hotel to leave the building immediately and pay £2,000 in legal costs.’
    • ‘He added that weak law enforcement had resulted in the occupation of riverbanks and other forbidden areas in the city by illegal squatters, and the unlawful development of buildings by developers.’
    • ‘The city council continued its crusade against bad buildings, evicting illegal squatters from several bad buildings.’
    • ‘Such juries would be unlikely to evict squatters from land owned by a wealthy entity that left the land untouched, i.e., treated as an investment.’
    • ‘On September 16, the courts issued an injunction asking squatters to leave the building.’
    • ‘The minister said the man acted contrary to the law and advised all land owners to follow laid down procedure when evicting squatters.’
    • ‘Last year, the building was occupied by a group of squatters, who claimed they were protesting against buildings being left empty in York.’
    • ‘There are many such other cases, including Kitwe, where squatters have occupied land illegally at the former council farm and are resisting moving despite a court ruling that they vacate the land.’
    • ‘Disused and neglected, the hall was invaded by squatters who occupied the building until it was gutted by a fire in 2002, which killed five people.’
    • ‘The plan aims to clear squatters from government-owned land to make way for infrastructure and commercial development.’
    • ‘The court rules that the squatters were illegally occupying the land.’
    • ‘Three days later, another fire killed seven in a building used by squatters.’
    • ‘Police have previously been accused of standing by or supporting the land invasions and ignoring court orders to evict the squatters.’
    1. 1.1North American, NZ, Australian historical A settler with no legal title to the land occupied, typically one on land not yet allocated by a government.
      • ‘He recognised the value of making concessions to the colonists where possible, and it was opportune that his term of office coincided with a relaxation of policy from London and the recognition of land claims by squatters.’
      • ‘Finding themselves dispossessed of everything they owned, they became squatters in their former land.’
      • ‘These millions of folks, in effect squatters illegally occupying untitled land, cannot ever use their houses for collateral for loans or have any recourse to generate wealth.’
      • ‘The squatters settled in the flat part of the ravine, on top of the cemetery, but did not build a good city in terms of urban development.’
      • ‘Every year the men used to ride out along the boundaries of the land owned by the towns just to make sure that they were intact; that none of it had been settled on by squatters or enclosed by the local lairds.’
      settler, colonizer, colonial, frontiersman, frontierswoman, pioneer
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