While these settlements may, in time, grow to become both legalised and indistinguishable from normal residential neighbourhoods, they start off as squats with minimal basic infrastructure.Thus, there is no sewage system, drinking water must be bought from vendors or carried from a nearby tap, and if there is electricity, it is stolen from a passing cable.He forecasts there will be two billion by 2030 and three billion by 2050.
Squatters often claim rights over the spaces they have squatted by virtue of occupation, rather than ownership; in this sense, squatting is similar to (and potentially a necessary condition of) adverse possession, by which a possessor of real property without title may eventually gain legal title to the real property.Anarchist Colin Ward comments: "Squatting is the oldest mode of tenure in the world, and we are all descended from squatters.Squatting by necessity is in itself a political issue, therefore also a "statement" or rather a 'response' to the political system causing it.In some cases, need-based and politically motivated squatting go hand in hand. Kesia Reeve, who specialises in housing research, "in the context of adverse housing circumstances, limited housing opportunity and frustrated expectations, squatters effectively remove themselves from and defy the norms of traditional channels of housing consumption and tenure power relations, bypassing the 'rules' of welfare provision." In many countries, squatting is in itself a crime; in others, it is only seen as a civil conflict between the owner and the occupants.
Property law and the state have traditionally favored the property owner.
However, in many cases where squatters had de facto ownership, laws have been changed to legitimize their status.