Squatter Epidemic in California: Is Relief in Sight?

Following the lead of several other states around the country, California has issued a stark warning to squatters in the Golden State.

A National Issue

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In several high-profile cases in states like New York and Florida, homeowners have made national headlines as they fought to regain control of their properties from strangers.

The Price of Evicting a Squatter

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Thanks to bizarre laws protecting squatters’ rights, removing a squatter from a home they have claimed has long been a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Florida Leads the Charge in Anti-Squatter Legislation

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Many states have recently led a wave of change, however. In Florida, squatters are no longer protected thanks to a new bill that prioritizes a homeowner’s right to their own property.

Protections Shift In Favor of Homeowners

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Now, Florida homeowners can more easily have squatters removed without being forced to spend months of their time and thousands of dollars first.

Criticisms of Newsom

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California governor Gavin Newsom has received criticism from political opponents and constituents for failing to take a strong stance against squatters.

A Small Attempt at Change

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Last year, he signed SB 612 into law, which gave homeowners the right to request police help to remove squatters from their properties.

More Trouble Than It’s Worth

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Unfortunately for California homeowners, the red tape involved with the bill created more problems than the bill solved, so the well-intentioned measure was ultimately not as beneficial as Newsom hoped.

Privatized Squatter Removal Services

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Due to the government’s inaction, property owners in California have resorted to privatized assistance for squatter-related issues.

Private Companies Claim to be More Effective than Waiting for the Courts

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Companies like the Irvine-based Squatter Squad advertise themselves as “fast and effective squatter removal and prevention services.”

Costs of Private Removal May Be Lower Than Waiting It Out

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These companies come with hefty price tags of up to $10,000, but this could be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money a property owner could lose in court fees, lost rents, and missed mortgage payments due to a squatter.

Washington Homeowner Banned From His Own Property

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In one particularly unbelievable case out of Washington state, a homeowner fell victim to a squatter. After losing over $80,000 in missed rent, he was also legally prohibited from accessing his own property after the squatter took out a restraining order against him.

The Costs Beyond the Money

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These squatter removal companies claim to be less expensive and much quicker than the drawn-out court process, which can take upwards of a year or more.

Concerns Around “Vigilante Squatter Removers”

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But some experts warn of “vigilante squatter removers,” whose unorthodox methods come with potential dangers.

Squatting Is Illegal, But It’s Poorly Enforced

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It’s important to note that squatting is illegal in California. However, the state has laws in place that protect squatters from eviction under certain conditions, and property owners are often required to treat them as regular tenants.

Upcoming Anti-Squatting Legislation in California

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According to the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, it is working with legislators in California who plan to submit bill proposals next year that will cover squatters. It is likely that those bills will have similar verbiage to ones passed by other states like Florida.

Online Tips for Squatters Have Homeowners Concerned

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Real estate experts in California have warned homeowners that there are squatter resources circulating online that offer tips for how to effectively commandeer a vacant home and claim squatter’s rights.

Variations by State

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While squatters exist in every state, the protections in place for them vary. Because of this, squatters tend to gravitate toward areas that have laws that would work in their favor.

California Homeowners Seek Change

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Whether any real action will be taken against squatters in the coming years or not, California will likely find itself seeking some sort of solution.

Too Costly to Ignore

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As costs continue to increase, especially in the second most expensive state in the country, homeowners will soon demand protections against squatters.

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The post Squatter Epidemic in California: Is Relief in Sight? first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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