Squatter's Handbook (Millenarian Edition)



1) Why Squat? Why Not!

2) Finding Your Building

3) Who Owns it?

4) Getting Inside

5) Once You're Inside

6) Maintenance

7) Services

8) Important Legal Stuff

9) Important Extra-Legal Stuff

Download Txt Version of Handbook Here




1) Why Squat? Why Not! Back to Index


There have been squatters for as long as there's been the concept of
owning land and squatting on land that formally belongs to someone else
takes place all over the world. There are probably as many reasons for
squatting as there are people who squat so rather than pointlessly trying
to outline them all, what follows are just a few particular reasons
motivating people to squat in Sydney today.

Despite government policies that aim to promote 'affordable housing', it
is clear that the numbers of low-income people able to afford housing in
the Sydney area are rapidly decreasing. The costs of private rental
accommodation are increasing exponentially, pushing many low-income
earners away from the places in which they and their friends live. The
private rental market is largely de-regulated and tenancy laws afford
low-income earners little protection from the increasingly exorbitant
rents demanded by landowners and their real estate agents.

[It is profit margins that count. Look at the scale of urban
gentrification in Sydney at the moment - doesn't look like abating in the
near future does it? Relax. It is only natural - the strong over the weak.
It is just space, not place. One day - when you can afford to purchase
property of your own - you will understand. And you too will give the gift
of rental accommodation to someone who has enough money to afford it but
not enough to return the gift. And they will give you the security you
need for further speculation in real estate. Everyone's a winner. Sydney
2000 Yes!]

Public housing once may have been an alternative. But with waiting lists
as large as they are, and with the length of wait as long as it is (up to
12 years), government housing is not really a viable option for many. As
governments become visibly less interested in housing low-income people -
by selling department of housing land to private developers, cutting back
on spending for new places, outsourcing their role to private contractors
in 'community housing' - it becomes more blatantly obvious that to rely on
their goodwill to satisfy your housing needs and wants is a ploddingly
dangerous mistake.

[People used to squat government-owned buildings before any others because
it was thought that there was more room to negotiate with 'public'
authorities with a 'conscience,' than with 'private' property speculators
and companies who were more obviously concerned with 'making money'. Now
there are no doubts that such a comforting distinction cannot be
maintained. Where is 'public' space and where is 'private' space? They
seem to have melded and colluded some time ago, and if they are keeping
any secret it is this : welcome to a world without clear borders where
power is much more diffuse and consumption (of goods, services,
information) is much more all-encompassing]

If you can't afford to purchase private property - or simply don't want to
assist private property owners to purchase more property by paying them
excessive rent - then there is no need to wait for the private rental
market and/or the government to provide a solution for your housing needs.
There are hundreds of houses/buildings left empty around Sydney right now
whilst people in need are left homeless or in substandard and unaffordable
accommodation. Help yourself and solve your own housing problems - squat
these places before the owners rot them!

Squatting allows you autonomy. Despite the 'threat of eviction' squatting
actually gives you a high degree of control over where and how you choose
to live. It enables you and the others that you squat with to learn a
great deal about how to build a place, repair a place, and organize a
place according to your individual and collective desires - a privilege
usually reserved for owners of private property to enjoy. And when you
create that kind of autonomy you tend to actively participate in
maintaining it rather than simply waiting for the government / rental
market to try and provide it for you.

[This is something that has perplexed town planners and 'housing experts'
for some time - why have government programs to 'house the poor' in
western and non-western countries failed to satisfy peoples needs for
housing and community, while self-help squatter settlements around the
world have been so successful? The answer lies in the autonomy that
squatters create and maintain for themselves by taking control of their
own housing problems]

Being squeezed out by ridiculously high rents and the gentrification of
the city? Tired of waiting for disinterested governments to come to your
assistance? Fed up with sleeping in parks/bus shelters/friends' lounge
room floors? Wanting to create your own housing machine? It's not

Go squat


Finding Your Building

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