Florida Homeowners Empowered by New Law to Combat Squatters, Says Governor

Florida Homeowners Empowered by New Law to Combat Squatters, Says Governor

On Monday, a new law went into effect that gives state police more power to remove squatters and increases the fines for those who do so. This could give Florida homeowners the tools they need to protect their property without having to go through the long court process.

In a video on X, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that HB 621 will “end this squatter scam once and for all” in his state.

“Other states are on the side of the squatters, but we are protecting property owners and punishing criminals who try to get around the system,” DeSantis told reporters at a press conference in March after signing the bill into law.

“Some people will be here for seven months of the year and then go to Michigan, New York, or even Canada.” When you get back from summer, someone is already living in your house. They get to stay for six months. You call, fill out a form, and the sheriff comes to your house. The sheriff then kicks him off your property, DeSantis told Sean Hannity about the law in the past.

“If we don’t have private property rights, we will not have a free society, so it is the bedrock Florida stands by, and we’re proud to do it,” he said.

Kevin Fabrikant, boss of Florida’s Eviction Law Firm and an attorney, told Fox News Digital that Florida already had one of the fastest legal processes in the country for getting rid of a squatter from a property. The process usually took about a month.

The squatters in states like New York and California, on the other hand, have caused some homes a lot of trouble for months.

But Fabrikant said it can be expensive for landlords, starting with a $300 filing fee and then usually high-cost legal help.

The new rule, on the other hand, lets police evict tenants without going through the court system. This is possible as long as the homeowner files an affidavit and the intruder meets a number of conditions, including:

The homeowner must have asked the squatter to leave and they must have done so illegally. The squatter cannot be a current or former tenant of the home and cannot be a close cousin of the homeowner who wants them to leave.

“It’s designed for a very narrow situation – if you let somebody into your property and you want them out, it likely may not apply,” said Fabrikant.

Fabrikant said that a normal moving fee with a sheriff’s office in the area would be $90 in most Florida counties and $115 in Miami.

The man said, “If you’re a squatter, I wouldn’t come to Florida to live.”

The new law says that the sheriff has to get rid of the squatter once officials confirm ownership and decide that the complainant is suitable.

The bill says that people who “encourage or engage in squatting” will be punished more harshly by the law.

If squatters fake leases or other proof of residence, they will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for making false written statements or papers.

A second-degree misdemeanor can now be given to anyone who ruins property by $1,000 or more while they are on it.

“Somebody breaks into the house, destroys the house, that’s [the type of person] the governor intended [to police with this law],” he said. “Those people cause immeasurable damages to have handymen or contractors fix what these squatters are doing to a property.”

A first-degree felony will now be given to anyone who promotes the sale or rent of a home without the owner’s permission.

Fabrikant said, “Bob Squatter turns around and finds some people sometimes.” “Now you have to remove Bob Squatter and all these random people who [may not be aware that they’re illegally living on the property].”

Under the new law, it’s not clear how Florida’s police will work.

“They’re on the spot having to make a decision about whether a person qualifies under these scenarios,” she said.

“There are times when the sheriffs are put in a tough spot because of the language and the claims that the occupant might make,” he said. “In all likelihood, the sheriff’s office will be liable to a civil suit… if they remove someone wrongfully they would tend to get sued.”

Sheriff William Snyder of Martin County earlier told “Fox & Friends First” that he thinks the law will “absolutely” make things better.

“There’s a real technicality when you go out to a home and somebody proffers that they live there, then the legitimate owner has proved that it’s their house,” he said back then.

“It gives us teeth to enforce the law and to return the home to the rightful owner,” he stated. “We will go right out there, and our goal here in Martin County is to return that home to its rightful owner and kick the trespasser out…” then I will give them (the squatters) a place to live. They will not be without a home. They are going straight to my jail.”

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