Florida lawmakers pass bill against SQUATTING
03/20/2024 // Ava Grace // Views

Lawmakers in the state of Florida have unanimously passed a bill to combat squatting, providing a ray of hope for property owners dealing with illegal occupants on their property.

According to Jacksonville TV station WJXT 4, both houses of the Florida Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 621 earlier in March. The measure was introduced by Republican State Rep. Kevin Steele after the harrowing experience a Jacksonville property owner had with squatters on her property.

HB 621 would allow police to immediately remove squatters who do not have a notarized lease authorized by the property owner. It also designates presenting a fraudulent lease as a misdemeanor. Moreover, it makes intentionally selling or leasing another person's property or intentionally causing more than $1,000 in property damage while squatting or trespassing a felony.

With the state legislature approving HB 621, it now goes to the desk of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature. The bill will go into effect on July 1 if he signs it.

WJXT 4 noted that HB 621 closes a loophole in the Sunshine State's law that permits squatters to illegally occupy other people's properties. Moreover, the proposal also serves as a departure from the lengthy court cases required in most states. Under the current law in Florida, landlords typically have to wade through a long and expensive legal process to remove squatters. (Related: SQUATTERS are being granted ownership of unoccupied homes.)

Jacksonville property owner's experience inspired HB 621

Steele filed HB 621 in the Florida Legislature after hearing about the ordeal of Patti Peeples, who fell victim to squatters on her property. The loophole that HB 621 closed allowed the trespassers to live rent-free in her home, while she wasn't allowed on her own property.

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Back in March 2023, squatters illegally moved into Peeples' home and trashed it for more than 30 days. The trespassers produced a lease, claiming that they were victims of a rental scam for the second time. But according to court records, the squatters made the same claim at a nearby house – and they decided to move in to Peeples' residence after being evicted from the previous property.

The trespassers refused to leave despite her demands, prompting her to file a civil case. During the trial, Peeples was banned from entering her home.

While the squatters were eventually kicked out, the rightful property owner was left with tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Worse, the trespassers who illegally occupied Peeples' house were never criminally charged.

Peeples has since returned to her rightful home, and has shared her story with local and national TV – and eventually at the state capital Tallahassee. She remarked, however, that she isn't surprised her story has resonated so widely.

"It gives me a real feeling of positive hope that we still have the ability to discuss challenges in our society and work with our legislators in a bipartisan way," the property owner told WJXT 4. "Because at the crux of this issue is just basic unfairness, you know. If we don't have the right to inhabit our own property, then what kind of world are we living in?"

Peeples also lamented how the squatters on her property got away with nary a slap on the wrist. "It's just the wild west; they simply move from one place to another," she remarked.

If HB 621 – which was born out of her ordeal – is signed into law, it will eliminate so-called squatters' rights. Florida law currently allows illegal occupants to claim ownership of a property after seven years of possession, something that could have befallen her had she not acted to evict the trespassers from her property.

Check out HomelessAgenda.com for more stories like this.

Watch John Williams talk about how squatters are taking over America below.

This video is from the Thisisjohnwilliams channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Authorities issue trespassing notice to squatters on Florida’s meth island.

SQUATTERS GALORE: Illegal migrants are now taking over homes of American host families: “How many are coming? We knew nothing!”

Nationwide squatter epidemic turns homes into havens of illegality.

Sources include:




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