Florida swats the squatters

The well-reported story was just the latest example of the metastasizing of liberal property policy. First, crazed libs seized control of large areas of city downtowns, like in Portland, where the SCAD or SCUM or whatever it was called took root. Then they legalized shoplifting, hollowing out all of downtown.

Now, like cancer spreading through the body to every remote organ, the criminals are spreading into the suburbs, seizing control of people’s unoccupied houses, aided by goofy blue-state “tenant protection” laws that give squatters without leases more rights than the property owners.

Obviously, property owners are hurt the worst. But houses filled with squatters also depress property values and make the neighbors want to move even farther out, leaving more empty houses for criminals and illegal aliens to squat in.

House Bill 621, which passed overwhelmingly and now awaits Governor DeSantis’s signature, authorizes property owners to request the sheriff’s office immediately remove squatters from their home, just by filing an affidavit.

Legitimate tenants are protected by a provision assigning triple damages to any owner who lies about the existence of a lease in their affidavit. (Full disclosure: I helped to draft this bill.)

Before this bill, it could take up to a year to evict some jackanapes squatting in a Florida home. We needed a different, faster process than eviction, and that’s exactly what HB 621 provides. Maybe other states can use Florida’s law as a template.

Jeff Childers

Jeff Childers is the president and founder of the Childers Law firm. Jeff interned at the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Orlando, where he helped write several widely-cited opinions. He then worked as an associate with the prestigious firm of Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman in Orlando and Winter Park, Florida before moving back to Gainesville and founding Childers Law. Jeff served for three years on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Eighth Judicial Bar Association, and on the Rules Committee for the Northern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court. Jeff has published several articles as co-author with Professor William Page of the Levin College of Law (University of Florida) on the topic of anti-trust in the Microsoft case. He also is the author of an article on the topic of Product Liability in the Software Context. Jeff focuses his area of practice on commercial litigation, elections law, and constitutional issues. He is a skilled trial litigator and appellate advocate. http://www.coffeeandcovid.com/


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