New York Enacts Harsh Anti-Squatter Law Following High-Profile Incident in Queens

New York Enacts Harsh Anti-Squatter Law Following High-Profile Incident in Queens

New York lawmakers have passed a stringent new law to protect property owners following a high-profile incident in Queens involving a homeowner and a squatter. The incident, which saw a homeowner handcuffed after attempting to change the locks on her $1 million property, prompted legislators to take action. The law, included in New York’s 2024 state budget agreement and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, specifically excludes squatters from tenant protections under state law.

Real estate attorney Michael Romer stated that the case of Brian Rodriguez played a significant role in pushing lawmakers to pass the anti-squatter legislation. Rodriguez had allegedly taken over and subletted a home in Queens, leading to the homeowner, Adele Andaloro, being detained by the police when she tried to regain control of her property. The incident garnered significant media attention, which prompted the district attorney’s office to build a case against Rodriguez.

Under the previous laws, squatters who stayed in a property for at least 30 days were considered tenants and had to be evicted through the court system. The new legislation changes the definition of a squatter, removing their tenant rights and making it easier for law enforcement to intervene in squatting cases. This change is seen as a game-changer by legal experts.

Rodriguez, 35, has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including burglary, grand larceny, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief. The Queens District Attorney’s office confirmed that Andaloro is not facing criminal charges.

The incident involving Rodriguez is not an isolated case. Other high-profile squatting incidents, such as the one involving Cheng Chen, who allegedly started a fire that destroyed a home in Brooklyn, have highlighted the need for stronger protections for homeowners. Chen’s fellow squatters even continued to occupy the property’s backyard after it became uninhabitable. Homeowner Zafar Iqbal expressed frustration, stating that squatters seemed to have more rights than homeowners.

Real estate attorney Michael Romer has observed an increase in squatting complaints from clients in recent years. State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton emphasized the need to address the distressing scenarios faced by homeowners who find their properties unlawfully occupied without recourse.

The new law aims to provide homeowners with greater protection and prevent situations where squatters have more rights than property owners. By redefining the status of squatters and excluding them from tenant protections, the legislation seeks to expedite police intervention in squatting cases, sparing homeowners from lengthy legal battles.

Author: CrimeDoor

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