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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Combat Squatting Scams and Protect Property Owners

Governor Ron DeSantis officially signed House Bill 621 into law in Orlando this past Wednesday, effectively putting an end to the squatters’ scheme within the state of Florida.

The newly enacted legislation serves to safeguard the property rights of citizens, offering homeowners avenues for recourse against squatting activities, while also instituting penalties for those engaging in such practices.

“We’re bringing an end to the squatters’ exploitation in Florida,” remarked Governor DeSantis. “While some states may sympathize with squatters, we’re staunchly defending property owners and cracking down on those seeking to exploit the system.”

Under the provisions of HB 621, property owners are empowered to enlist law enforcement assistance in removing unauthorized individuals from their premises.

However, owners must initiate contact with the sheriff’s office and formally file a complaint to establish their eligibility. Upon verification of ownership by law enforcement, the squatter can be lawfully evicted.

The bill outlines specific criteria for unauthorized individuals, stipulating that they must have unlawfully entered and remained on the property, received explicit instructions from the owner to vacate, and not be involved in any legal tenancy disputes.

Furthermore, property owners are obligated to cover a civil eviction fee and hourly rate for law enforcement services if officers are required to oversee the removal of squatters to maintain peace.

Squatters found in violation of the law face severe penalties, including first-degree felony charges for attempting to sell or rent property without authorization or ownership, second-degree felony charges for causing damages exceeding $1,000 while squatting, and first-degree misdemeanor charges for making false claims to obtain property.

The legislation is scheduled to take effect on July 1st, marking a significant step towards ensuring property rights and deterring fraudulent practices within the state.


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