Published by FOX Business | May 5, 2023
Florida landlord shares little-known method that allows police to remove squatters
A real estate investor who was recently the victim of squatters is using his experience to help other landlords avoid court through a little-known Florida statute.
After recruiting a local news station to cover his situation in February, Sam received a tip that he could avoid the court system to evict the illegal occupants by using a Florida statute that allows police to remove them if he signs an affidavit claiming they are squatters. After the method remedied his situation, Sam has been spreading the word to help other Florida landlords.
Sam requested his last name be withheld for privacy concerns after being alarmed by people showing up at his door for advice after seeing his story on local reports.
Sam’s rental house was under contract for sale, but was vacant while he awaited permits to replace the roof. When visiting the house, he started to investigate after noticing the locks were upside down.
“Obviously, they were changed, all the locks that we put on are put on properly,” he said. “So right away I realized that, okay, somebody has broken into this home and is probably hanging out there, so I called the police.”
Sam entered the home through the back door, noticing the squatters were not present, and took out all of their belongings and changed the locks.
However, once the squatters returned home, Sam said they confronted him both verbally and physically.
“They started pushing us around, me and my workers and screaming, yelling,” he said. “I have no idea who these people are, and I realize that obviously these must be the people squatting.”
Once police arrived, one of the squatters produced a false lease from her pocket.
“She knew what to say to the officers,” Sam said. “The fact that she was carrying her lease with her meant to me that she already knew what was going to happen and knew that this is my ticket.”
It worked. Sam was told he had to turn the utilities on for the squatters and hand over the key to his house until the issue was resolved in court.