The Squatting Estate Agents was opened in a corner shop in Brighton by the campaign group Justice? Photographs of properties were displayed with comments such as "Easy to get in. Good condition. Been empty for a long time" and "Clean, nice but small. Alarmed with Chubb and Yale locks".
Justice? claims Brighton has the highest percentage of homelessness in the country. "While bits of paper are shuffled about and so-called urgent meetings waste hours, nothing ever seems to be done, so one practical solution is to squat," reads a publicity leaflet at the estate agent.
But not all has gone smoothly for the agency: the council served it with an affidavit to face court eviction proceedings on Monday. At the "grand opening" of the shop, one of the group, Paul, said: "I wish the council would house people quicker than they evict people."
Clive Buxton, a hotelier, deplored the publicity being given to the resort. "We are a conference and tourist town and . . . this is not doing it much good," he said.
But Paul denied people were being encouraged to break the law. "You either starve and die on the street or you find somewhere to live," he said.