DeSantis Signs Bill Ending Squatters Rights

( – A squatter is someone who trespasses onto a property and remains there unlawfully. Squatter’s rights kick in after a certain period of time has passed without the owner trying to remove them. That timeframe varies per state and removing the squatter at that point can be an involved process. Recently, the Florida governor signed a bill into law addressing this issue.

On March 27, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 621, giving property owners a quick solution for removing squatters from their property. Typically, once a squatter’s rights are established, taking them off the property is a multi-step process that can involve the court system. This bill makes it possible for Floridians to rid their properties of unwanted squatters by imposing “harsh penalties” and allowing law enforcement to remove them without court involvement if they meet certain conditions.

At the signing, DeSantis said the Florida government is “putting an end to the squatters scam” in the Sunshine State, declaring that his state is once again leading the nation. He said that other states side with the illegal occupants instead of the property owner — something the state leader finds unacceptable. HB 621 makes giving a false statement to obtain real property a first-degree misdemeanor and makes it a felony to illegally occupy or trespass on a residential property. Advertising the rent or sale of the residential property is now also a felony in the state of Florida.

Recent incidents involving illegal occupants in multiple states brought the issue to the forefront. In Washington, Sang Kim refused to leave a landlord’s property after not paying rent for two years. Also, a property owner in New York was reportedly arrested after evicting a group of alleged squatters who moved into her deceased parents’ home.

Sources say fights between landlords and squatters have been increasing in the US, leading to lengthy and costly legal battles. DeSantis aims to nip the problem in the bud.

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