Major Win For Property Owners As Bill Immediately Evicting Squatters Passes Unanimously

Florida recently enacted a unanimou bill that provides a new approach to dealing with the challenges of squatters. This new bill allows police to immediately evict squatters and bypass the often time consuming and very complicated court process that used to be the standards for evictions. This a massive shift in the way that squatting cases are dealt with, aiming to provide more support and faster resolutions for property owners that are dealing with these challenges. 

Positive Reaction From Property Owners

Residents of Florida, such as Patti Peoples, who has dealt with the issue of squatters firsthand, have expressed their relief and hopeful outlook on the new bill being passed. 

Source: Allan Vega/Unsplash

Peeples made this statement to News4Jax, “It gives me a real feeling of positive hope that we still have the ability to discuss challenges in our society and work with our legislatures in a bipartisan way.” 

Simplifying The Eviction Process 

The new bill allows law enforcement to remove squatters from a property without an authorized lease from the rightful owner.  

Source: Pinterest

This change to the way that evictions used to be handled streamlines the entire process for landlords, who previously were forced to maneuver through the often difficult and expensive legal process to reclaim ownership of their properties.

Challenges Property Owners Face Because Of Squatters 

The challenges of squatters were brought to legislators attention by the personal stories that were shared, this includes the captivating experience that Peeples had.

Source: Bayhousingwire

She explained in detail to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee how squatters had taken over her home, and expressed the immediate impact that they had on her property and how imperative it is to make prompt legal changes.  

Addressing Fraudulent Leases

One of the challenges highlighted in dealing with squatters has been the presentation of fake leases by the squatters. 

Source: 2H Media/Unsplash

This move has been utilized to claim rights to a property illegally, making the eviction process even more complicated for the legal property owners. The new bill will address these challenges directly by allowing law enforcement to intervene without a lease from the property owner. 

Concerns From Advocacy Groups 

Florida Rising, an advocacy group, initially expressed concerns about the bill creating a space for misuse against legal tenants.  

Source: floridarising

However, after amendments were made to ensure the safety of legal occupants, the group took a neutral stance on the bill.This shift indicates the legislative effort to create balance between protecting property rights while also safeguarding legal tenants.

Awaiting The Governor’s Approval 

The bill has been approved by both chambers of the Florida Legislature and is currently awaiting a signature from Governor Ron DeSantis.

Source: Pinterest

If he does approve the bill it will speed up the removal process of squatters and provide recourse for illegally evicting tenants.

Emotional Repercussions On Property Owners 

Peeples conveyed to Fox News the multitude of emotions that she dealt with as a result of the squatting incident, this includes “intense anger,” a feeling of defeat, and a sense of being treated unjustly by both the legal and law enforcement systems. 

Source: Flickr

Her testimony gives insight on the personal perspectives of property owners when dealing with the squatting matter. 

Another Troubling Florida Home Invasion 

In another troubling scenario, a $1 million home located in Florida was unlawfully occupied by 10 squatters, ultimately leading to a massive bug infestation and significant property damage to the home.

Source: Pinterest

The leader of the group, Tyrone Jones, allegedly gave a fake identity so that he could become the executor of the property that is located on Seabreeze Boulevard.

Financial Distress Caused By Squatting

The case of Patti Peeples highlights the extreme financial and intense emotional distress that squatting can cause property owners.

Source: Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

After dealing with weeks of legal battles trying to evict squatters who claimed to be victims to rental fraud, Peeples found her home was left with significant damage, leading to thousands of dollars in loss.

Property Damage Was Severe 

Squatters left the home in deplorable conditions, with severe damage to the windows, walls, and flooring. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This situation underscores the physical damages caused to the property, as well as the audacity of the squatters who are exploiting the legal system in efforts to delay the eviction.  

The Alleged Fraudulent Scheme By Tyrone Jones’

The Daily Mail reported, Jones allegedly coordinated a detailed fraudulent scheme, created a fake identity so he could take control of the Fort Lauderdale property.

Source: Pinterest

Unfortunately this isn’t an isolated incident, it is alleged that he is involved in as many as 14 other crimes with similar context. 

Intervention By Law Enforcement 

Broward County Sheriff’s stepped in and ended up evicting seven men, two women, and two children from the property. 

Source: Pinterest

Security measures were put in place after the eviction, the locks were changed, with the hopes that this would prevent squatters from trying to reenter the home and illegally occupying it.  

Impact On The Neighbors

The existence of squatters has spread fear in the neighborhood, specifically affecting the neighbors next door that dealt with a break-in on the night of February 27, 2022. 

Source: Shutterstock

This horrifying incident was described to CBS Miami, the neighbor recalled how his wife screamed when she discovered there was a home invader standing at the foot of their bed.. 

An Ankle Monitor 

A man by the name of Kevin Bosley was among those who were removed from the property, he had previously been arrested and was wearing an ankle monitor. 

Source: simmrinlawgroup

Law enforcement was unaware that Bosley had been unlawfully residing in the home, something that came to light during the eviction process, when he was seen wearing an ankle monitor as he was being escorted off the property. 

The Situation Regarding The Stolen Home 

The home was left with serious damage during the time that the squatters occupied it.

Source: Flickr/Fred Urbex

Mike Fisten, an investigator for the Broward Property Appraiser’s office, gave a detailed account of the destruction by saying, “It’s bug infested. The walls are damaged. The flooring is damaged. The windows are damaged. The whole area is totally damaged.” 

The Larger Issue Of Home Theft 

The Broward County Property Appraiser, Marty Kiar, highlighted the bigger consequences of these criminal activities

Source: Maxim Hopman/Unsplash

He emphasized that home theft doesn’t just affect the property owner but also makes the community feel victimized as a whole. The unlawful occupation led to other crimes, including home invasion of a neighboring house, adding to the ripple effects of the squatters actions.

Incident Of Squatting In Houston

In another incident in Houston, a public school teacher and her family were evicted from a home they were occupying by using a fake lease.

Source: Markus Winkler/Unsplash

Amberlyn Prather, the teacher, was confronted with legal repercussions after the judge approved the eviction.

Preserving And Protecting Community Properties

Squatter situations that have occurred in both Houston and Florida are the epitome of the complex challenges that communities deal with when trying to mitigate the issues of illegal squatters.

Soure: Fivver

The anti-squatting legislation is meant to help property owners, law enforcement, property appraisers, and real estate professionals regain access to properties, ensuring that communities can feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.

Real Estate Challenges And Solutions 

The issue of squatters has created significant challenges for real estate professionals.

Source: Pexels/Thirdman

A realtor authorized to sell the Houston House, Shanequa Garrett, dealt with a lengthy process to regain access to the Houston house because of the illegal occupants. Eventually she would overcome this hurdle, evict the illegal occupants, and was able to work towards the sale of the house.

Enhancing Legal Consequence

The proposed bill states that the use of a fake lease will be punishable with a misdemeanor, and offenders found guilty of trying to sell or lease a home illegally will be faced with felony charges. 

Source: Umanoide/Unsplash

If found to be responsible for more than $1,000 in property damages the person or persons could be charred with a felony as well. 

Possible Impacts Of Legislation

The unanimous approval of the anti-squatting bill by the Florida Legislature indicates a possible shift in the state’s approach to dealing with squatting. 

Source: ShutterStock/Freedomz

The law aims to protect property owners and restore their rights to their homes quicker and more efficiently, by making the eviction process more streamlined than it was before.  

Call For Stricter Squatting Laws

Flash Shelton, a handyman-turned-squatter hunter, has advocated for stricter laws for squatters, referencing an incident in Atlanta where 1,200 homes were said to have been taken over by squatters. 

Source: Adobe Stock/Polack

Shelton has made the suggestion that it will be easier to facilitate the removal of squatters with more severe punishments in place for the crime. 

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Athena Hallet

Written by Athena Hallet

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