Squatters move into Guy Ritchie's £6million London mansion

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Feb 16 14:09:53 GMT 2011

Squatters move into Guy Ritchie's £6million London mansion
A group of squatters has moved into film director 
Guy Ritchie's £6million London home while it was being renovated.

Home from home: Guy Ritchie’s unwelcome guests 
hang banners from the windows (Picture: Getty)
At least 12 people have settled into the listed 
building in Fitzrovia and they now plan to turn 
it into a school – offering lessons in successful 
squatting, among other things.
Police were called to the property at the weekend 
but the group calling itself the Really Free School refused to budge.
It is unknown if they knew it belonged to the 
Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels director before they moved in.
Bold: Squatters advertise their free school at 
Guy Ritchie’s London home (Getty Images)
Yesterday they were inviting the unemployed to 
join their cinema club and spend the night in the five-storey property.
‘We need occupiers for tonight! Will be film 
showings in the new cinema. Come sleepover in the 
most rah property in London,’ an online post read.
The group has moved from another address in 
nearby Bloomsbury, where their ‘school’ 
curriculum included classes in anarchy, tarot-reading and social media.
Neighbours are frustrated by the occupation and 
one woman who works in the area chased two 
squatters down the road demanding to know how long they would be there.
A resident said: ‘I don’t like it at all. There 
is no substance to their ridiculous cause. They 
don’t own the building, why should they live in it?’
Ritchie bought the former language school, which 
had been empty for three years, last May and was 
in the process of having it converted into two homes.
‘It’s a real cheek,’ said a spokesman for the building contractors.
‘This property has not been empty. We’ve had 
workmen in there as recently as Friday.
‘Our scaffolding is in there. It’s not safe to be in at all.’
Unless the squatters leave voluntarily, Madonna’s 
ex will have to obtain a court order to get them out.

Anyone can be a victim of squatters
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Anyone can be a victim of squatters, take precautions, says Landlord Action.
In light of reports that squatters have taken 
over a £6million Grade I listed mansion in 
London’s ¬upmarket Fitzroy Square belonging to 
film-maker Guy Ritchie, Paul Shamplina, Founder 
of eviction specialists, Landlord Action, comments on this growing problem.
He said:
“Squatting cases are on the rise and this latest 
story demonstrates that anyone can become a 
victim of squatters, wealthy or not.  Nowadays, 
squatters do a lot more research in respect to 
the properties they choose to squat at.
"They may also do searches at the land registry 
to see who owns them, as well as doing research 
as to how long they have been unoccupied for, and 
that it is not the owners main 
residence.  Property owners need to be aware of 
the risks and take precautionary measures.
"Obviously in this case, Mr Ritchie will need to 
issue possession proceedings against the 
squatters and thereafter obtain an eviction date. 
Another option is to possibly come to a financial 
agreement with the squatters to leave, saving time and legal costs.
"If of course, the squatters were seen breaking 
into the property, the police could have been 
called and the squatters would have been arrested 
and charged for breaking and entering.
"The key is ensuring void periods are kept to a 
minimum, especially with a multimillion pound 
property situated in London, which is a hot spot for squatters.
"If this is not possible, my advice is to invest 
in on site security until the property is back in 
residence and install security doors and windows 
that will make entering a property more difficult.
"If, as in this latest case there is renovation 
work being carried out, ensure that the property 
is secured overnight and be wary as to who has access to the property.”

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