Florida Cracks Down on Squatters, Putting an End to the “Scam”

Evicting unlawful squatters has been a difficult process until now, and Florida homeowners are thrilled that their properties will have more protection going forward.

Florida Changes Rights for Squatters

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In many states, squatters — people living in a property without permission — are granted rights under the law that make it challenging for homeowners to evict their unplanned tenants. Starting this July, Florida will no longer be one of them.

DeSantis Signs Anti-Squatter Bill

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Earlier this week, former presidential candidate and Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed off on House Bill 621 after it sailed through the House vote. 

“We Are Putting an End to the Squatters Scam in Florida”

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“We are putting an end to the squatters scam in Florida,” DeSantis said. “While other states are siding with the squatters, we are protecting property owners and punishing criminals looking to game the system.”

Governor Calls Out Other States’ Squatter Protections

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DeSantis criticized other states’ protections for squatters in a scathing speech, pointing to the bill as evidence that squatting would no longer be tolerated in Florida.

“Homes Are Being Invaded”

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“Homes are being invaded, and those states and their laws are not siding with the homeowners; they’re siding with the squatters,” the governor said. “You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody’s private property and expect to get away with it.” 

Defining Squatters Under HB 621

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Under the new law, squatters are defined under a specific set of criteria. A person must have entered a property illegally and refused to leave after being asked by the homeowner. They also cannot be currently or previously in a tenancy agreement and engaged in a legal battle with the homeowner.

Protections for Homeowners

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The law aims to protect homeowners from the lengthy and expensive process of evicting squatters, who, until now, have had to be given similar notice and legal rights as any other tenant being evicted.

Punishments for Squatters

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Homeowner protections are just part of the goal of HB 621. There are also hefty penalties involved for anyone who is caught squatting or advocating for the practice.

Misdemeanors for Misrepresenting Data on Rental Applications

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According to DeSantis’s website, HB 621 makes it a misdemeanor to lie on rental applications to be given access to a property. 

Squatting-Related Felonies

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Squatters who are found to have caused over $1,000 in property damage will be charged with a felony.

Anyone who posts a home for sale or rent that they do not own or have permission to list will be charged with a felony as well.

Viral Video Gives Tips for Squatters

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Recently, a video with instructions for how to find loopholes to get away with squatting went viral, prompting renewed outrage at the practice and the laws that protect squatters.

Creator Clues Viewers Into Squatters’ Rights

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As the video’s creator noted, squatters are given protections in many states that allow them to be legally considered tenants if they establish residency in some way. 

What is Adverse Possession?

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In fact, prior to 2011, squatting in Florida came with even more surprising potential benefits.

Before changes to the law that took place that year, a rule called “adverse possession” allowed a squatter to claim legal ownership of a property if they lived there for seven years and improved the property in some way.

A Real-Life American Horror Story

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Stories of squatters taking up residence in homes around the country have also gone viral. Homeowners often turn to media outlets with their frustrations after failing to receive support from the legal system.

Sheriff Rips Into Viral Video

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In response to the viral video, one Florida sheriff compared crime to cancer, cautioning people to avoid falling into criminal traps.

“Crime Is a Lot Like Cancer”

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“Crime is a lot like cancer,” he said. “It spreads, and if you see it somewhere else, let’s be on guard. Let’s get ahead of it.”

Florida Homeowners Relieved 

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As the state prepares for HB 621 to go into effect, homeowners in Florida are breathing a sigh of relief.

Many Florida residents travel to cooler climates for the summer and have to worry about what to do if a squatter enters their home while they’re gone.

Laws Now Protect Property Owners Over Squatters

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Now, they can rest assured that the law is on their side if someone does illegally take up residence in their home.

A Bipartisan Victory

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HB 621 was a rare bipartisan effort, sailing unanimously through the state House and Senate. 

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Discover how squatters’ rights, or adverse possession, are more than just legal jargon—they’re stories of unexpected twists in the world of real estate. From sunny California to the historical landscapes of Pennsylvania, here’s how these laws could turn the tables on homeowners and squatters alike. 21 States Where Squatters Can Legally Claim Your Property

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