DeSantis abolishes 'squatters rights' in Florida

The new law makes it quick and easy for homeowners to reclaim what's legally theirs.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new piece of legislation aimed at combatting squatters, making it quick and easy for homeowners to reclaim what's legally theirs.

When HB 621 goes into effect on July 1, Floridians will have the ability to call police and have them remove anyone illegally occupying someone else's property and refuses to leave. Those caught committing the crime will face harsh penalties.

"You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody's private property and expect to get away with it," DeSantis said during a press conference, per Fox News. "We are in the state of Florida ending the squatter scam once and for all."

He went on to slam Democrat-run states across the nation for "siding with the squatters."

"In fact, we have seen squatters move in and claim residence," the governor lamented. "This forces a massive, long, drawn-out judicial review before they can even be removed from the property. These are people that never had a right to be in the property to begin with. Earlier this month in New York, a woman returned to a property she inherited to find squatters living there. She changed the locks to get them out, and the state of New York arrested her instead of the squatters."

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody highlighted the fact that many illegal immigrants let in by the Biden administration were taking to squatting.

"After video evidence of their plan to take over homes emerged," she said, "we're ensuring Floridians are protected from this egregious and brazen scheme."

Under the new law, it will be squatters, not homeowners, facing legal repercussions. Those who forge documents to make it seem like they have a right to the property will be hit with a first-degree misdemeanor charge, while a second-degree felony charges will be filed against anyone who unlawfully occupies a property and causes over $1,000 in damage. Those who knowingly advertise the sale or rent of a property without being the legal owner will face first-degree felony charges.

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