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Beware of Squatters

: Betsy Mccaughey on

If you own a home and don't want to lose it, keep reading.

Homeowners who go on vacation or a business trip, even for just a week, are returning to find their house overtaken by trespassers who fraudulently claim a right to be there. It's happening to tens of thousands of homeowners from New York City to Atlanta and Los Angeles.

When owners call the police, they're told police can't help. It's a civil matter, and they have to file an eviction lawsuit, which can drag on for months or years because housing courts are backlogged.

Meanwhile owners are out on the street while squatters are living free, destroying houses and even selling off owners' belongings.

If you found a stranger sitting in your car and called the police, they would immediately ask to see the registration and decide who owns it, explains Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley. They wouldn't let the thief drive off. But the law is stacked against homeowners.

You can thank leftist lawmakers who have degraded property rights and tilted the law to favor criminals. The result is an epidemic of brazen squatting.

 

In New York state, a homeowner faced with a trespasser can expect eviction to take two years. Meanwhile, the owner is barred from turning off utilities, removing belongings or doing anything else to get the invaders out. It's crazy.

New York State Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz of Long Island introduced legislation saying a squatter is not a tenant and is not entitled to the same protections. Will it pass in Albany? Don't hold your breath.

But some states are acting quickly against this crime wave.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill to empower police to immediately remove anyone who can't produce a notarized lease. Georgia's statehouse passed the Squatter Reform Act, making squatting a crime -- criminal trespass -- to be handled by the police, not housing court. It's likely to pass the Senate shortly.

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Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

 

 

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