In the UK the law says that as long as there is no evidence of breaking and entering (and usually the first thing squatters do is replace the locks so the owners cannot get in, as well as fix any broken windows), and the squatter says that he believes the property was either abandoned or that he was given legal access to the property by someone who represented himself as authorized to do so, then it is a matter of civil litigation as to who is entitled to the use of the property.
The law presumes that whoever has possession of a key to the property is the rightful owner until another claimant to the property proves their title in court.
Once the real property owner wins the court case, they then have the right to initiate eviction proceedings and the squatters have 30 days to leave the property, unless they get an extension because of hardship.
Once evicted, they are not liable for any civil damages or for any criminal action - they are are free and clear.
Squatting has become a popular pastime in the UK because if squatters can get inside a home and quickly erase any evidence of breaking and entering, they have a rent-free place to live for at least three months with no legal consequences of any kind.
That is a truly warped set of laws. I wonder how they evolved? At the very least, if the owner wins the case and proves ownership, the squatters should be liable for all damages and losses. Good thing the gypsies were too lazy to get the door fixed or they would still be there.
I see lots of abandoned properties where I live, and all I can say is “Awwwwww...” and wish someone would move in and fix ‘em up and maintain ‘em. Heck, if I were a home builder type...
That is just so wrong.