Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This Week In the Decline of the British Empire: Squatter's Rights

I posted several links in the past to unbelievable news stories out of the United Kingdom highlighting the absolutely batshit crazy path our favorite cousins are traveling down. It happens enough that I'm going to start a new category of posts, called This Week in the Decline of the British Empire. For the unaugural installment, I give you this item detailing the travails of a man whose home has been invaded by squatters.

"Neighbours said the property had just been sold when the 12 squatters broke in during the early hours of the morning after a window was forced open.

Since then there has been more damage and endless parties – several of which have culminated in the police being called."
Now, you might think this would be a simple matter of calling the police. Not in the U.K. In the U.K., these squatters have rights. They include free legal representation.
"Mr Hamilton-Brown, 36, applied to the county court last week to seek an interim possession order to enable him to claim the house back.

He did not hire a solicitor because of the expense.

But when he arrived at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court, in East London, he was amazed to find that two of the squatters had been granted legal aid and were represented by a duty solicitor.

Because they were EU citizens and unemployed, they qualified for free legal representation."
Yay! To pour a truckload of salt into the eyes of common decency and conventional wisdom, the squatters posted a sign on the residence to remind everyone just who is in charge (hint: it isn't they guy who pays taxes and owns the house).
"A legal notice put in the front window by the squatters states that anybody who enters without their permission could face six months in jail and a £5,000 fine.

A neighbour said: ‘They have more rights than we do."
So it seems. Enjoy oblivion, England!

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