English Hotelier Left Homeless When Squatters Take Over House

Connan Gupta, 40, a hotelier moved out of his £700,000, five-bedroom home in Camberwell, England for renovations. When he returned, he found the locks changed and Italian squatters occupying his house — with all of his belongings, medication, and possessions inside. He will remain homeless and living with his sister while the courts sort it out.

The squatters say they are students, including four men and six women and two dogs. They say that five more squatters will be arriving soon.

They insist the home was unoccupied and that they had not broken in (a curious interpretation of home invasion). They say that they simply do not have money for rent. They posted a notice in his window announcing their occupation. England has loose squatters rules that have been criticized by landlords. In the United States, this would be treated as home invasion and they would be arrested. Even if they were mistaken, they clearly knew upon entering that it was occupied given the contents of the home and later when they barred the owner from entering. In torts, this would also constitute trespass in the United States as well as trespass to chattel.

Source: This Is London

18 thoughts on “English Hotelier Left Homeless When Squatters Take Over House”

  1. The issue is dependent upon whether they forced entry – if they did so into a locked property, they have committed criminal damage and the various rules surrounding adverse possession don’t apply.

    The law on it is pretty muddled, but it’s easy to criticise from the POV of someone living in a country which doesn’t have a thousand years of evolved, interlocking common law…

  2. The law as it stands doesn’t only apply to people who come from Italy. There is even a quite famous recent case of a squatter occupying a dwelling in London for long enough to have legal ownership, and them selling it for a considerable sum shortly after. Although I wouldn’t like that to happen to me if I left a property vacant, the law here does serve a worthwhile purpose and if ever left homeless I would certainly consider lawful squatting as an alternative to shivering outside in a British winter. That law can make the difference between life and death.

  3. MMMM I wonder, BIL you going on any vacations/business trips? Just wondering….psss I bet he lives in a great house

  4. Tony, are you kidding? These people left Italy. tat takes money. If they couldn’t afford lodging then they should have stayed put and used their traveling money to rent something. The notion that an unoccupied house is up for grabs is ridiculous. What about places tied up in probate? I’m sure there are plenty of unoccupied rooms in Buckingham Palace and other Royal homes. Are the homeless allowed to live there? Is it only working people who are subjected to this “help the homeless” situation?

  5. It’s all quite legal if you don’t break in. I think the law is pretty good because it deters owners from keeping properties unoccupied while there are thousands of homeless.

  6. My first reaction was, “How did the General Contractor allow this to happen? It would be the Contractor’s responsibility to secure the premises. I wouldn’t want to be asleep in someone else’s house, and have a crew show up – my presence interfering with their ability to get work done and get paid. Those would be some unhappy carpenters, plumbers, etc.”

    Ah.. But was there a real “contractor”? How many people “wing it” with a handyman here and a laborer there, thinking they’ll save a couple of bucks/quid. Without a good GC running the job and keeping things moving, I could certainly see how a house could sit empty for a few weeks, creating this opportunity for squatters. All the more reason to “do it right” as a certain burly Canadian would say.

  7. As has been said so many times by so many people, the world is upside down and the British Law in particular is lop sided and unequal. where the rights of the squatters are given a higher priority than those of the homeowner

    It is screamingly obvious to a blind donkey that these “people” are trespassing and have unlawfully seized possession not only of the home but of the contents as well, yet the UK authorities deem these to be minor civil offence and not worthy of their attention. leaving it to the victim to pursue the matter through a toothless judicial system which is blinkered and hog tied by red tape.

  8. I lived in Europe and most of the northern countries have a different philosophy about confronting homelessness since the government is supposed to provide housing, if someone become squatters, then other housing arrangement need to be provided before they can be moved. Hard to think with from our point of view and a “man’s house is his castle”.

  9. Considering the owner’s personal effects were still in the house how can the house possibly be considered abandoned? Why are not these sitters simply being arrested for break and enter and trespass? And where were the contracted renovators in all of this as proof that the house was still “occupied” by the owner?

    I agree with BIL: Just stupid.

  10. AY,

    Hey, let’s go to England and start our own business … house sitters … there’s a need, let’s meet it!

  11. Blouise,

    You going on Vacation anytime soon? I think Randy Quade has an option for you…..

  12. What happens when people go on vacation … their homes are up for grab? Sounds like lawlessness to me.

  13. In most states if the home was being renovated and the true owner had vacated it,it would have been unoccupied for Home Invasion or Burglary…Now criminal trespass….that’s a different story…

    I have read cases where a vehicle that had been used as a temporary home was broken into the Defendant was charged with Home Invasion and a Sct upheld it…the US Sct refused to take it up on appeal….so its still law in that state….

  14. This is just the latest of quite a few such cases to be published in recent months.




    It would appear that whilst the squatters have all of the rights the law can possibly lend to a situation, the home owners themselves have none and cannot lawfully enter their own property to force an eviction – compelled instead to utilise the courts, by the time it reaches the court normally the squatters and a good proportion of the owners property have vanished

  15. This is an outrageous infringement of individual rights. These people should be arrested for this violation. The fact that it has to go to court is a very bad sign. In my opinion England has no property rights if this must be decided in a court of law.

    And this from the empire that created John Locke, a real travesty.

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