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Recent incidents in New York City involving alleged squatters have raised questions about squatters’ rights and the laws in New York, which appear to be more lenient compared to other states. According to the American Apartment Owners Association, a squatter is someone who inhabits a piece of land or building without legal right or documentation to do so. In one recent incident, a property owner in Flushing, Queens was arrested for unlawful eviction after confronting alleged squatters who had taken over her deceased parents’ home. The man claimed to be on a lease for the house, which prevented the property owner from evicting him.

Disputes between squatters and landlords have become more common as rent prices skyrocket and tenants’ rights are emphasized, including eviction moratoriums that have sparked anger among landlords. Squatters’ rights, also known as “adverse possession” laws, exist in all 50 states in the U.S. However, enforcement of these laws varies from state to state, leading to lengthy legal battles between homeowners and squatters over property rights and possession. In New York, a person living in a property without the owner’s consent can claim ownership if they maintain a continuous presence for a certain number of years and treat the property as their own.

In New York City, squatters cannot easily be removed from a property if they have been living in it for 30 days, as landlords must navigate the city’s eviction laws that can take up to two years to complete. During this process, owners cannot change locks or remove belongings of squatters. Some lawmakers have taken action to address these issues, with a state assemblyman filing a bill that would make it easier for homeowners to remove squatters from their properties. The bill clarifies that squatters are not considered tenants and gives rights to homeowners after 45 days instead of the usual 30 days required for short-term rentals in NYC.

State Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz, who filed the bill, expressed concern about squatters taking advantage of the law to remain on properties for extended periods. The proposed legislation would allow police to intervene and make arrests instead of going through a lengthy court process to remove squatters. The goal of the bill is to prevent squatters from exploiting the law and ensure that homeowners have the right to reclaim their properties in a timely manner. As disputes between landlords and squatters continue to escalate, lawmakers are working to find solutions to protect property rights and address issues related to squatters’ rights in New York City.

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