Tramp wins Prescriptive Rights claim to land potentially worth £3.5m


Pensioner Harry Hallowes, a tramp, who has lived on a patch of land measuring 20m by 40m has won a prescriptive rights claim to the land that he has occupied for over 18 years. The plot of land on the estate of Athlone House in plush Hampstead Heath could be worth over £3.5 million if it had planning permission for development, but Harry will continue to occupy the shack he has lived in for the time being. He has said he may even build on the land himself, apparently everyone else in the area seems to be doing so. The owners of Athlone House (Dwyer) had tried to evict Harry in March 2005 but the eviction failed. Harry claimed the land under the prescriptive rights legislation and is now the legal owner of the land with his title to the property registered at HM Land Registry. It is his to do with as he wishes. It is not just people such as Harry who can make claims by prescription to acquire land they occupy. Many home owners may have occupied additional parts of land such as garden land and can acquire the land by way of prescription. If they can show that they have occupied the land for a number of years without any consent or objection from the actual owner then they may be successful in making a claim. Simpson Millar can advise on claims for adverse possession by way of prescription. Should you need any help in this area of law then please contact Lyndon Campbell who can evaluate whether you have a potential claim. Who knows, you could be looking at a fortune just like Harry.

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