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...
Some say it began to be enshrined in law after the Black Death and when thousands and thousands of homes and even entire towns and villages were empty and the chain of title was lost or forgotten.
A situation where someone moved into a home that had lain abandoned for decades, lived there for years (I think the law says 12) restoring it and improving the land only to be evicted because the ninth cousin of the baron who had owned the property forty years before had finally figured out that he owned it and decided to come from a hundred miles away to sell it - well that was considered unfair.
This is speculation, but it is also the time when adverse possession became part of common law.
Sounds like a business opportunity for someone in the UK.
I can see it now, a “Key Registration Service” - if the squatter does not have the registered key, he must have changed the locks without the owners permission.
Someone needs to get around the stupid law, but on the homeowners side.