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Florida Squatters Bill Passes: Here’s What You Need to Know As a Property Owner

Homeowner asking squatter to leave their house.

Have you ever worried about finding unwanted guests in your rental property? Unfortunately, this has been a harsh reality for many Florida landlords, including Patti Peeples. Thankfully, recent news of Florida’s squatters bill offers a glimmer of hope.

Loopholes Closed, Protections Increased For Homeowners

Florida lawmakers recently passed a bill to combat squatting, a problem highlighted by Ms. Peeples’ case. Loopholes allow individuals to occupy properties rent-free while owners like Ms. Peeples struggled to evict them for months through the legal system. Her story prompted this new legislation to close those loopholes and empower law enforcement to remove squatters without a valid lease.

Squatting can be a highly stressful and emotionally draining experience for landlords. Imagine finding strangers living in your rental property, refusing to leave, and causing damage. The legal process to evict squatters can be lengthy and frustrating, leaving the rightful owner powerless and helpless. Ms. Peeples stated, “I have never felt more unempowered or helpless in my life.”

A squatter case is taken to court.

The proposed legislation allows law enforcement to remove Florida squatters without a legitimate lease agreement. It also introduces stiffer penalties for squatting-related offenses. These include:

  • Misdemeanor: Intentionally presenting a fraudulent lease agreement.
  • Felony: Intentionally selling or leasing another person’s property without their consent.
  • Felony: Causing more than $1,000 in property damage while squatting or trespassing.

“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 said.

Relief for Landlords, But Concerns Addressed

This new bill offers significant relief for Florida property owners who have faced the emotional and financial burden of dealing with squatters. Ms. Peeples herself expressed a sense of “positive hope” with the passage of this legislation.

However, initial concerns existed that the bill could lead to the wrongful eviction of legitimate tenants. Fortunately, the legislation has been amended to address these concerns, ensuring it protects the rights of both property owners and responsible renters.

What This Means for You

“Props to Florida lawmakers for the initiative to right a wrong. Finally, owners are recognized and supported for the role they play in meeting housing demands. This new bill aims to better align property rights and streamline the process for property owners to reclaim possession from occupants with fraudulent leases or those who have taken unauthorized occupancy,” said J.R. Miller, Business Development Representative with RPM Sunstate  

The Governor has signed the bill, and it takes effect on July 1st, 2024. This new legislation offers property owners peace of mind by providing more protection against squatters.

Still Have Questions on The Florida Squatters Bill? Let RPM Sunstate Be Your Guide

Property manager explains to couple of landlords how the new squatters bill works.

Here at RPM Sunstate, we understand the complexities of property management in Jacksonville, Palm Beach County, and Orlando. We can help you navigate the legalities and protect your investment.

If you have questions about tenant rights, eviction alternatives, or how to prevent squatting in your rental property, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team. We’re happy to guide you through Florida property management.

Call RPM Sunstate today for a free consultation!

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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