Feb 272011

The British government seems to take a really bizarre view of “squatters rights.”


After squatters moved into John Hamilton-Brown’s new £1million five bedroom home he has been forced to beg them to get out through his letterbox.

The group of foreigners were granted legal aid to fight to stay – while he was forced to represent himself.

One of the squatters, who said he was 20, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘There are many empty homes and we should be able to live wherever we want.’

Shoreditch County Court refused to issue an interim possession order forcing them to vacate the property within 24 hours because of a technicality – and it could now be six weeks before they are told have to go.

The house is not abandoned, but legally owned. The squatters are thus tresspassing. Why can’t the police simply march in and arrest everyone? Were this Texas, the homeowner would, I believe, be allowed to kick in the door and start shooting. Which might explain why I don’t see the same sort of story out of Texas…

Additionally: if it’s legal for the trespassers to be in there, then it’d be legal for *other* tresspassers to be in there. Perhaps a bunch of neighbors could get together, force the door open, and march in? If the do so right after a local soccer or rugby game… why, it’d hardly be unexpected if a fight broke out and some people got roughed up and tossed out into the street, would it?

 Posted by at 10:20 am
  • Gar

    Well, the Britis do have a history of ‘quartering’
    see the 3rd ammendment of the US constitution.


  • admin

    That’s true. The homeowner could grant permission for a platoon of Royal Marines to quarter in his house for a day or so.

    Hilarity would ensue.

  • Michael Holt

    My British friends agree this sort of thing isn’t common. I suspect this has happened maybe twice in the last couple of years, both of which have been reported here. However, that certainly does not excuse what happened.

  • peterh

    I’ve heard of similar cases in Great Britain. Seems an old law intended to protect tenants fails to differentiate between tenants who had permission to move in and squatters.

  • phuzz

    The squatting laws over here are indeed to protect sitting tenants, but the real disagreement in this case is the fact that the homeless immigrants were given legal aid and the owner of a £1M house wasn’t.
    So he attempted to represent himself and made a technical mistake which means it will now take 6 weeks for the eviction notice to be served, rather than 24 hours.
    It’s telling that the only paper that has covered the story was the Daily Mail (which has a similar reputation over here to fox news, ie, more about the angry than the journalism)

  • admin

    > the Daily Mail (which has a similar reputation over here to fox news…

    Ah. So the Daily Mail brings out the screeching nutballs in opposition? Then I guess the DM is doing good work.


  • Michael Scott

    Britain is so screwed. I wonder if there is currently a way for them to reverse course even if they wanted to.

  • Well, Scott, this is another of those things that will convince you that we’re all nuts on this side of the pond…but a law passed in the Middle Ages (literally!) to prevent evil landlords throwing children and old ladies out into the snow means that you have to get a court order to get back your own house! A “legal warning” to put on the door of the house you’re sqatting in is here:


    Successive governments have meant to change this, but never got around to it…if you get up a posse of your friends with baseball bats (or cricket bats!) to eject them forcefully, they could report you to the Police and have you prosecuted!