Saturday, May 18, 2024

Unbelievable! Squatter Sells Elderly Man’s Home and Pockets the Cash

A surprising turn of⁣ events ‍has⁤ recently⁢ unfolded in ​Newbury Park, East London, involving a squatter, Keith Best, and the previous owner ​of a three-bedroom semi-detached ‌house, Colin Curtis. After taking over the abandoned property and winning the legal right to become its owner, Mr. Best has now sold the house for‍ a staggering sum‌ of £540,000. This remarkable story sheds light on the complexities of property ownership and the legal framework surrounding adverse possession.

The tale begins with​ Colin Curtis, who had⁤ lived in the ⁤house with his mother for many‌ years.⁣ However, in the late 1990s, Colin ‍moved out, leaving the property⁢ vacant. It was during this period that Keith Best,​ a builder by trade, discovered‍ the ‍empty home while working in the neighborhood. Seeing an opportunity, ⁤Mr. Best began treating the property as his own and embarked on a mission ‍to renovate it to its former glory. In 2012, he, along with his​ wife and child, formally moved into the house.

A few months later, Mr. Best decided to take a bold step ‍and applied to the courts for permanent possession of the property. At ​the time, the house ⁢was estimated to be worth around £400,000. What makes this story even more astonishing is that Mr. Best’s claim for ownership ‍was based on the legal principle of adverse possession, where a⁤ trespasser can gain legal rights to a property they do not legally ⁢own if they can demonstrate “control” over the‍ property for an extended⁢ period of time.

The legal battle that ensued was both contentious and unprecedented. Initially, Mr. Best’s application for adverse possession was denied by the Chief Land Registrar,⁣ as his claim coincided with the criminalization of squatting under ⁣the Legal Aid,​ Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Act. However, this⁣ decision ⁤was later overturned‍ by the High Court in 2014. Mr. Justice Ouseley ruled that the ⁢Registrar’s initial decision was “founded on an error of law” and that the previous legislation, which treated squatting as a civil matter, should apply, ultimately granting Mr. Best legal ownership‍ of the house.

Colin Curtis, who​ passed away in 2018 at the age of 80, ⁤launched a counterclaim‌ in an attempt to regain ownership of the property. However, Judge‌ Elizabeth Cooke dismissed his claim, citing that he was⁢ not a registered administrator ‌of his mother’s estate and had no legal standing to fight for her home.

The legal ⁣saga surrounding this property highlights the complexities of property ownership and the legal ‌framework surrounding adverse possession. It also raises questions about the⁣ fairness and equity⁢ of such legal⁢ provisions, especially when properties are ‍left ⁣vacant for extended periods.

Mr. Curtis, who had lived in the⁢ house for years, was left with feelings of injustice ⁤and bewilderment. He once expressed, “It’s not fair. The law is an ass. It’s like someone getting in your⁤ car then saying it’s theirs because they’re sitting in it.”

The ⁢house’s history is a testament to the hardships faced by Mr. Curtis, whose son and daughter tragically ⁢passed away at young ‍ages. ⁢Despite these challenges, both he ⁤and his ​mother are fondly remembered by their former neighbors, who still harbor resentment over how the law allowed Mr. Best to gain ownership of the property.

In a surprising ​twist, ‍the house was recently sold to Atiq Hayat, 35, ⁤who‍ confirmed that the property’s sale was conducted through legal channels. He praised the condition of the house and mentioned that Keith Best’s name appeared on all⁣ the‌ relevant documents. The Hayat​ family, unaware of⁢ the property’s controversial past, has carried out significant renovations, including building ⁤a back and roof extension, increasing the property’s value to approximately £650,000.

This extraordinary story leaves many questions lingering‌ about‍ property rights, legal loopholes, and the moral and ethical ​implications of adverse possession. It serves as a stark reminder that the legal system can sometimes⁢ produce outcomes that⁣ defy common sense and leave individuals like Colin Curtis feeling ⁣as though⁢ they have ⁤been wronged by the very ⁣laws meant to⁢ protect​ them.

In conclusion, the tale ​of Keith Best’s journey from ⁣squatter ⁤to legal property ⁣owner is a remarkable and contentious chapter in the annals of⁢ property law. While Mr.‌ Best has profited from his actions, the story highlights the need for a ⁤thorough review of the legal provisions ​surrounding‌ adverse possession and their impact on ⁤individuals like ⁣Colin Curtis, who lost a family home under circumstances that many find hard ​to comprehend. ​The property,‌ once​ a ⁣source of contention and ‌legal battles, now stands as a testament to the importance of responsible property ownership and the ⁢value of preserving family legacies.

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