Ron DeSantis Signs Bill That Takes Sledgehammer to Squatters’ Rights

By Published on March 28, 2024

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday to crack down on squatters taking over homes in the state.

A TikToker recently went viral for telling illegal migrants how to use squatters’ rights to steal Americans’ homes, and there have been reports of squatters in states like New York. DeSantis said this new legislation will speed up and simplify the process to remove squatters from homes during a press conference on the bill in Orlando.

“We are putting an end to the squatters scam in Florida,” DeSantis said. “While other states are siding with the squatters, we are protecting property owners and punishing criminals looking to game the system.”

The previous judicial process could be lengthy, but HB 621 streamlines it, DeSantis said. It allows homeowners to ask a sheriff’s officer to remove squatters from their property and will go into effect on July 1, according to its summary.

“If you are the victim of squatting you can simply fill out a form, give it to your local sheriff and the sheriff is instructed to go and remove the people who are inhabiting your dwelling illegally,” the governor said.

The bill also establishes three new crimes related to squatting, according to the summary.

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Leonel Moreno, known by his social media username Leitooficial, posted a video instructing illegal migrants to take advantage of squatters’ rights laws and “invade” vacant properties in the United States earlier in March.

“I have thought about invading a house in the United States. I found out that there is a law that says that if a house is not inhabited, we can seize it,” Mereno said.

Authorities recently apprehended two fugitive squatters in Pennsylvania wanted for the death of a woman discovered in a duffel bag in a New York City apartment, the New York Post reported. New York City police believe they beat and killed a 52-year-old woman when she found them squatting in her late mother’s luxury apartment on March 15.

 

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