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‘They would take it’

Bradley shared that, in the case of the house he purchased, he involved law enforcement to remove the squatters on grounds of trespassing.

However, such actions can come with repercussions.

When WPTV reporter Joel Lopez asked Bradley if squatters “retaliate” as they face eviction, the answer was affirmative.

“Oh absolutely. In this particular property, they broke multiple windows. We shut the power down. They'd break a window. It's three units. They'd break a window in another unit and get in. Anything they could unbolt or take, they would take it,” Bradley recalled.

He added that such situations can impose considerable financial burdens on homeowners, stating, “It's costing a lot of people $1,000, $2,000 a month to hold these houses… let alone if they're not getting rent and people are destroying it. It's costing people a lot of money.”

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DeSantis to the rescue?

In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 621, a bill aimed at protecting property rights, offering homeowners solutions to combat squatting and increasing penalties on squatters.

“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.”

This new Florida law allows property owners to request law enforcement to immediately remove a squatter from their property if certain conditions are met: the squatter has unlawfully entered and stayed on the property, has ignored the owner's request to leave, and is not involved in a legal dispute as a current or former tenant.

In other states, the approach to handling squatting can be vastly different.

For instance, in New York, squatters are “classified as tenants and receive temporary rights as such” after occupying a property for 30 days.

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Jing Pan Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. He is an avid advocate of investing for passive income. Despite the ups and downs he’s been through with the markets, Jing believes that you can generate a steadily increasing income stream by investing in high quality companies.

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