A builder from London has triggered a squatter’s rights clause after claiming a £400,000 house.
Deciding to take the plunge, the artisan moved into the three-bedroom property with his family and child.
After moving into the empty home with his family in 2012, it’s said that Best put his own money into the building and eventually applied for permanent possession of the property.
Following an appeal - which claimed that the father-of-one effectively ‘stole’ the property - he eventually won the rights and sold it on for a tidy £140,000 profit.
Fortunately for Best, his claim came only a few weeks after squatting in residential properties was criminalised in 2012, and Justice Ouseley ruled the old legislation should apply.
Of course, as the builder didn’t actually ever buy the home, the former occupation is called squatting.
The practice of squatting is when someone deliberately enters a property without permission, intending to live there.
According to Property Solvers, squatters’ rights kick in if a property is occupied by squatters for a decade without a break.
If the temporary residents have occupied the empty house or building for this period of time, and have been acting as the ‘owners’ of the property, then they may take long-term legal possession.
It’s also worth noting that if the house that the squatters are residing in isn’t legally registered, then the period to take long-term legal possession extends to 12 years.
Interestingly, the same person does not need to be in residence for the full 10/12 year period - it can be occupied by various squatters.
However, for a squatter to register as the property’s owner, they have to prove that they have been looking after the home, or paying bills.
In an interview with MailOnline, the new owner of the home, Atiq Hayat said: “I don't understand how something like this can happen.
“How can you just take over an empty house and make it your own, isn't that theft?
“I’m quite shocked at hearing how Mr Best got this home. He never said anything to us, but why would he?
"Some neighbours have mentioned it to us in the past, but we've never heard the full details.
“It's crazy to think that you can see an empty home and just take it over and the court is OK with that.”Featured Image Credit: Eastnews Press Agency