Anti-Squatter Bill Passed in New York, Property Owners in Relief after Squatters Ruled out as Tenants in the Law

New York City, NY: Legislators in New York have cast a vote to amend a property statute that previously stated, “A tenant shall not include a squatter.”

This follows the handcuffing of a householder who altered the locks to prevent a squatter from subleasing her property.

On Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a portion of the state budget agreement for 2024 that exempts occupants from tenant protection under state law.

A series of investigations into individuals trespassing in unclaimed residences, according to ABC 7, has prompted New York State legislators to amend state law.

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In essence, the anti-squatter legislation would facilitate police intervention in situations similar to that of Adele Andaloro.

Adele Andaloro being escorted by the police after her arrest.

The Queens District Attorney reports that in February, Brian Rodriguez allegedly forcibly re-entered Andaloro’s residence subsequent to her lock changes by forcing himself in while she attempted to hold the door shut.

The police had no option but to remove Andaloro from her residence when he asserted that he was a lawful lessee and she attempted to evict him in accordance with the law.

The alleged squatter had moved into the residence in subletters of a $3,200 per month lease.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Rodriguez, 35, entered a not-guilty plea last week on charges including second-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of the stolen property, second-degree criminal trespass, and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

According to the New York State Unified Court System, the distinction between trespassing and squatting is that a squatter intends to transfer ownership or assert a legal claim to the property.

Trespassing is unlawful in New York, whereas squatting is frequently regarded as a civil matter subject to judicial eviction.

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This may entail the squatter relocating their possessions to the premises and establishing a permanent residence. Surprisingly, squatters will occasionally pay taxes in support of their claim of possession.

It is therefore unlawful for the rightful proprietor to lock them out, remove their belongings, or turn off the lights.