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£130 Million Home Comes With ... a Garden Squatter!

Imagine the shock of this poor ol' tycoon: he wanted to build the world's most expensive home only to find that he has a squatter in the garden!

A billionaire is planning to transform a vacant London stately house into the world's most expensive home - but can't evict a squatter who's been living there for the past 21 years.

Harry Hallowes, 71, was awarded squatters' rights last year, which means he can continue living in his tent in the grounds. His small plot is now worth a staggering £4million.

Link - via One Large Prawn

i have been reading about british eccentric, and in the 1800's there was a period where the rich built their gardens, so a hermit could live there. it was the height of garden fashion then--they would build grottos or caves above ground for them to live in, and take gust to see their hermit. actually there was a great hermit shortage among the rich--not enough to go around in fact. Vanity Fair had an article a couple months ago about current british eccentrics, and this got me reading about past ecccentrics--british, american, japanese--are the books i have bought. canadian i have not bought yet.
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"what the heck are squatters’ rights?" - there's a whole big schlemiel at

Basically, if one can prove extended possession of a (normally vacant or unused) property for a set period of time, then that person is legally entitled to - and awarded - certain rights to that property.

Naturally, this runs counter to the current belief that property is money, which is why the piece linked to opffers up snarky comments about the squatter, though to be fair, there are equally snarky comments levelled at the new 'owner' of the grand house and his nouveau riche plans to tear it down and build a white trash lottery winners wet dream home - such is the nature of 'journalism' at the Daily Mail.

As to the squatters land now being worth £4million - that may well be the 'value', but it's extremely doubtful whether he can capitalise on that and will certainly be unable to sell it for what it's 'worth'...
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Why doesn't this billonaire just build the man a house on another plot of land? If he plans to build the most expensive home in the world, a modestly sized house for a squatter who has become a nuisance to him would be just a drop in the bucket.
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Squatters' rights rule! Think of this guy in terms of his history--he's lived peacefully (I assume, unless he's a knife-wielding yahoo) for decades on his little piece of earth, and this system comes along to swat him away. Squatters' rights seems like such an unexpectedly respectful way to honor the way people have taken advantage of what others have ignored.

Similarly, abandoned buildings can be the arena for a squatter. They are making something useful out of what nobody has claimed or "called." Why not? I think it feels basic, wholesome, like how we cared for a piece of the earth long ago and by that virtue, that piece became our home.
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