Ritchie Triumphs In Squatters Battle

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February 22, 2011 | 11:40am EST

Director Guy Ritchie has triumphed in his battle to evict squatters from his $9 million London house after a judge ordered them to leave the property.
The Sherlock Holmes moviemaker bought his home in the British capital’s posh Fitzrovia area last May and hired a construction company to renovate the building.

However a group of squatters, part of the Really Free School, took advantage of the U.K.’s squatters’ rights laws and moved into the building earlier this month. In Britain, a person can claim a right to stay in an empty property as long as they don’t break and enter.

Ritchie instructed his legal team to take action against the squatters, and on Friday a judge ruled the director could take back the property and resume his construction work.

Judge Marc Dight said, “It seems to me that the defendants, despite their valiant attempts, are unable to support a procedural or a substantive claim. The claimant has made me aware that the building is being renovated and having asbestos removed. The obvious fallout from the occupation is that the renovation has been unable to go ahead.

“I’m told the floorboards are unsafe, with holes in the floor, and there is no water, no heating, no lavatory and limited electricity. There is no access to outside and I am led to believe there are no sanitary facilities whatsoever, presenting severe health risks to the occupiers.”

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