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Squat Like a Pro

Or, how to move into a Qaddafi mansion without getting pinched.


"It’s still fairly easy to squat in London. Last month, a group calling themselves Topple the Tyrants took over a £10 to £12 million mansion in Hampstead (pictured) owned by Saif Qaddafi. It was in the news that the Qaddafis’ assets had been frozen and that they would not be allowed back in the country. Everyone was saying, ‘That place sounds perfect! We just gotta find it!’ There are ways of obtaining information about empty buildings: If you pay a few quid, you can go to landsearch­.net and get the details of a property. A lot of people who have mansions don’t live in them—they’re just offshore assets. You can also put pieces of paper in the mailbox and see if anyone comes by to pick them up. Once inside, you can always tell if people are still living there. If there are computers or bank details lying around, it’s a no-go. But squatting is not a crime in England­—it’s only illegal if you break-and-enter. If you get in through an open window or an unlocked door and the building is indeed empty, it’s okay. Then just change the locks and keep it occupied 24/7—it’s very hard for the owners to evict you. —Philippa Russell, artist


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