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The impact of Florida’s new squatting law on property investors

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Real Estate |

On March 27, 2024, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 621 into law, marking a significant change in how Florida handles squatting. This new law protects property rights, offers remedies to homeowners and increases penalties for squatters.

Real estate investors in Florida will benefit from these changes, as the law aims to curb squatting and provide faster resolutions for property disputes.

Immediate removal of squatters

Under HB 621, property owners can request law enforcement to immediately remove squatters under certain conditions. The squatters must have entered the property unlawfully and refused to leave after the owner asked them to do so. However, they must not be current or former tenants in a legal dispute. This provision allows real estate investors to reclaim their properties quickly, avoiding lengthy and costly delays.

Enhanced penalties

The new law also introduces the following harsh penalties:

Making a false statement to obtain real property or presenting a falsified document is now a first-degree misdemeanor

Unlawfully occupying a residential dwelling and causing $1,000 or more in damages is a second-degree felony

Not having proper ownership or legal authority but still knowingly advertising the rent or sale of a residential property is a first-degree felony

These penalties aim to prevent squatting and related scams, providing greater security for real estate investments.

By taking a strong stance against squatting, Florida enhances its reputation as a secure place for real estate investments. Investors can have greater confidence that their properties will remain protected from unlawful occupants. This increased security may attract more investors to the Florida real estate market, boosting property values and contributing to the state’s economic growth.

Founding Partners Damaso W. Saavedra and Allyson D. Goodwin