Florida’s New Squatters Law HB 621: Protecting Property Owners’ Rights

Florida's New Squatters Law HB 621

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The Squatters Scam: A Nationwide Problem

Homes across the country have been targeted by squatters who move in and claim residence, forcing a long judicial review before they can be removed from the property.  This issue has been a source of frustration for many homeowners, as removing squatters through legal channels has often been a lengthy and costly process. 

In states like California and New York, squatters have taken over multimillion-dollar homes, causing distress and financial loss to property owners. For instance, in Beverly Hills, neighbors were outraged when squatters took over a luxury home, and in New York City, a homeowner faced a tense standoff with squatters in a million-dollar property inherited from her parents. 

As a property owner in Florida, you’ve likely heard about the growing concern of squatters unlawfully occupying residential properties across the state. While some states have allowed these unlawful occupants to take over, Florida is taking a firm stance against this practice. A  new law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis aims to provide a swift solution and safeguard the rights of law-abiding property owners. Florida’s new law aims to prevent such scenarios, offering a swift and straightforward solution for homeowners. 

Governor DeSantis Signs HB 621

On March 27, 2024, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 621 (HB 621), a legislation that protects property rights, provides homeowners with remedies against squatting, and increases penalties for those engaged in this illegal activity. As quoted from the official press release, “We are putting an end to the squatters scam in Florida. While other states are siding with the squatters, we are protecting property owners and punishing criminals looking to game the system.”

Streamlining the Removal Process

The legislation, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, outlines clear conditions under which property owners can request immediate law enforcement intervention to remove squatters:

1. Unlawful Entry and Remaining: If an individual has unlawfully entered and remains on the property.

2. Failure to Leave: If the individual has been directed by the property owner to leave but has not complied.

3. Not a Tenant: If the individual is not a current or former tenant involved in a legal dispute with the property owner.

This provision aims to simplify the process of reclaiming your home from squatters, avoiding costly litigation, delays, and missed rental income.

What are the Penalties for Squatters and Enablers in Florida?

HB 621 not only simplifies removing squatters but also introduces severe penalties for those engaged in squatting activities. The bill includes:

First-Degree Misdemeanor: For making a false statement in writing to obtain real property or knowingly presenting falsified documents conveying property rights.

Second-Degree Felony:: For unlawfully occupying or trespassing in a residential dwelling and intentionally causing $1,000 or more in damages.

First-Degree Felony: For knowingly advertising the sale or rent of a residential property without legal authority or ownership.

These harsh penalties serve as a strong deterrent against individuals attempting to exploit the system and engage in fraudulent activities related to squatting.

Squatters and Property Rights in Florida FAQ

What does squatter mean?

A squatter is someone who occupies a property without legal permission from the owner.

What is Florida's new squatter law?

Florida’s new squatter law, HB 621, strengthens property owner rights by making it easier for law enforcement to remove squatters and increasing penalties for squatting.

Can you evict a squatter in Florida?

Yes, you can evict a squatter in Florida. The process typically involves filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit.

Can you go to jail for squatting in Florida?

Yes, squatting in Florida can be a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances and any prior offenses.

How can I protect myself from squatters in Florida?

To protect yourself from squatters, regularly inspect your property, secure vacant properties, and promptly address any signs of unauthorized occupancy.

How long can a squatter stay in Florida?

A squatter cannot legally stay on your property without your permission. However, removing them may require legal action.

Can you kick someone out of your house in Florida?

You should not physically remove a squatter yourself. It’s best to involve law enforcement to avoid potential legal complications.

Can you turn off utilities on a squatter in Florida?

Can you turn off utilities on a squatter in Florida?

Turning off utilities on a squatter is generally not advised, as it can lead to legal issues. Consult an attorney for guidance.

What is the property rights bill in Florida?

Florida has several laws protecting property rights, including HB 621, which specifically addresses the issue of squatters.

What is the squatters rights bill in Florida?

There is no “squatters rights” bill in Florida. Squatters do not have the right to occupy property without the owner’s permission.

Can police remove squatters in Florida?

Yes, under HB 621, law enforcement has the authority to remove squatters if they meet specific criteria.

 

Can a house guest refuse to leave in Florida?

If a house guest refuses to leave, they can be considered a trespasser, and you may be able to have them removed by law enforcement.

How to get rid of someone who won't leave your house?

If someone refuses to leave your house, you can contact law enforcement for assistance or seek legal advice on how to proceed.

What are the rights of a homeowner in Florida?

Homeowners in Florida have the right to enjoy and use their property without interference, and they are protected by various laws, including those against squatting.

 

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Lincoln Madison: Your Trusted Partner in Challenging Situations

Florida’s HB 621 reinforces the state’s commitment to protecting law-abiding homeowners, particularly against the growing issue of squatters. If you’re a property owner in Polk County facing challenges like squatters, difficult tenants, a distressed property, an inherited house, probate, or want to avoid going through foreclosure process, Lincoln Madison Investments is here to provide swift, reliable solutions. If you’re a Polk County, Florida property owner facing challenges like squatters, or other tenant issues, have distressed properties you want to sell fast, inherited an unwanted house, are going through probate, or face the risk of foreclosure, we are here to help. 

We specialize in purchasing homes as-is for cash, offering a streamlined, hassle-free process that puts money in your pocket quickly. No matter the condition or circumstance, we can help you navigate your unique situation and achieve a fair price for your property.

Contact Lincoln Madison Investments today online or call us at 863-521-0549 for a free, no-obligation consultation and discover how we can help you move forward with confidence.

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