Governor DeSantis signs law to combat squatting in Florida

Florida Governor takes aim at squatters with new law. — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill addressing squatters into law. Gov. Ron DeSantis/FB The Republican Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill into law on Wednesday, getting rid of squatters’ rights in the state and making the punishment for offenders tougher.

“You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody’s private property and expect to get away with it. We are in the state of Florida ending the squatter scam once and for all,” DeSantis said, while addressing a press conference in Orlando after the signing of the bill. 

The new law will come into effect on July 1. Before signing the bill, Governor DeSantis said that he thinks Florida is the first state of the United States to tackle squatting directly. 

Earlier this month, majority of lawmakers in Florida voted to support the bill. They sent it to Governor DeSantis to sign it into law. The law says that people who squat in homes will be charged with a crime. It also lets property owners prove they legally own the property by filing a document of affidavit.

Before this law, squatters in Florida, and also in many other states, were seen as tenants. This made property owners go through long court fights to kick them out legally.

“This is an important bill if you see the stories that happen,” Republican state Sen. Keith Perry, who sponsored the bill, said as it made its way through the legislature, according to Wear TV. “It is egregious what people are getting away with under legislation.”

Now, if someone is living in a house without permission, the owner can ask the sheriff to remove them right away if they are unable to prove their ownership. This is because of a new law. 

Speaking in front of a podium with sign that says “Ending the Squatters Scam”, Governor Ron DeSantis said the new law will help homeowners to get rid of squatters faster. He also said the law makes the punishment for squatting worse. 

DeSantis criticised the Democrat-led states, saying they’re siding with the squatters. “In fact, we have seen squatters move in and claim residence. 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,” he said. 

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