DeSantis Signs Anti-Squatter Law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a new bill into law that bars people from squatting in people’s homes. The law strengthens previous previsions against squatting amid a large wave of such incidents across the country.

The govern signed House Bill 621, which allowed homeowners to quickly remove squatters from their property. He said that the measure “will increase criminal penalties for squatting.”

The new bill will come into effect July 1.

“Commandeering a private residence through “squatting” is a scam that violates private property rights,” he said.

“While some states are choosing to indulge this behavior, Florida is putting an end to it,” said DeSantis.

Under the new bill, a homeowner can file a complaint and request aid from a member of a sheriff’s department.

Sheriffs from across the state will be able to provide the adequate resources and support for victims of these crimes and homeowners to preserve their property,” he said.

The governor said that squatters often realize that even when they’re in the wrong, it’s a massive process many times before they can be evicted and a lot of times that process is very expensive.”

Should the individual be deemed a squatter, the sheriff’s department must remove them.

“We don’t want the law to have the thumb on the scale in favor of people that are violating the law. We want the law to have the thumb on the scale and in favor of law-abiding property owners,” said the governor.

The law comes amid a wave of squatting incidents in which individuals will effectively take control of a home from its legal owner or renter. This has gained particular attention in New York, which has lax laws regarding such a practice.

It also comes amid the arrest of social media influencer Leonel Moreno. Moreno is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela who ran a popular TikTok account in which he called for people to enter the United States and squat in people’s homes.

His arrest came after he escaped an ICE program that allowed him to remain in the country despite entering illegally at Eagle Pass, Texas.