Ron DeSantis Calls Florida a “Law and Order” State as He Squashes Squatters Rights

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law aimed to reduce and eliminate squatters rights from the state of Florida. The bill aims to help homeowners remove squatters, penalize them, and radically shorten the process it takes to legally remove squatters from a property.

Source: Reddit/ ModeratePolitics

Squatters rights refer to the rights of a person who occupies a space for a certain period of time without the owners taking legal action against them to remove them from the property. The time period varies by state, as do the specific rights of the squatters.

Source: TapTalk

States that have squatters rights include, but are not limited to: California, Washington, New York, and until recently, Florida. In states in which squatters rights are legal, property owners must follow an involved legal eviction process to remove occupiers from their property. 

Source: AAOA

The bill DeSantis signed aims to make this process much easier for homeowners, and doesn’t allow squatters as much leniency. He states the process will be as follows: “Fill out a form, give it to your local sheriff and the sheriff is instructed to go and remove the people who are inhabiting your dwelling illegally”.

Source: SpectrumNews13

Prior to the bill being passed, squatters had much more right to stay at the property. Due to the high number of vacation properties in Florida, some property owners would not even know that squatters had overtaken the property until it was too late and much more difficult to get rid of them.

Source: Newsline

The “squatting scam”, as DeSantis refers to it, comes to an end with this bill. Among the main reasons for such an increase in property squatting is a disturbing trend that seems to have taken over the internet. 

Source: Fox13TampaBay

Some tiktokers are even training others how to squat and occupy a space legally. Recently, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela has taken to the platform to teach others how to take possession of vacant properties. He states in one video to his 500,000 followers, “If the house is not inhabited, we can seize it”. 

SourceL Tiktok/ @leitooficial_25

As DeSantis tackles the issue he calls out blue states for not taking action. “Today in the state of Florida we say very simply what passes muster in New York and California is not passing muster here,” DeSantis said. “You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody’s private property and expect to get away with it”.

Under the new bill squatters will face harsher penalties for seizing a home, including a first degree felony charge for trying to rent or sell the property and a second degree felony for occupying the home and causing more than $1,000 in damages.

Source: Property Problems

The bill comes at a time of high tensions surrounding the border crisis and deepening state divisions with the looming presidential election. The law will officially go into effect July 1, 2024.