A landlord in Florida has found a way that allows police to give squatters the boot without getting tangled up in court and he wants to help others solve their unwanted tenant problems as well.
The real estate investor goes by the name “Sam.” He doesn’t want his full name revealed due to privacy issues, according to a report by Kassy Dillon at Fox News Digital.
He was recently the victim of squatters taking over one of his properties. He utilized a little-known Florida statute to resolve the problem.
“I’m more than happy to be the harbinger for other people to be able to find solutions to this kind of terrible, terrible situation that people get into,” Sam told Fox News in an interview. “If I can help even one person, then it’s worth it for me.”
Good work, Kassy. Glad to see there is a reprieve.
Property owners should abandon states where these laws and police enforcement do not exist to their own fates.
Let them destroy and rot what the law will not protect.
— Austin Wyatt (@adub134) May 5, 2023
Sam went to a local news station so they could report on and expose his situation in February. At that time, he received a tip that he could avoid getting entangled in the court system by using a Florida statute that allows police to remove the intruders if he signs an affidavit claiming they are squatters. It worked and since then, he has been spreading the news to other Florida landlords.
“Had ‘Help Me Howard’ not come through and I didn’t find this statute, I would probably today still be dealing with the court system,” Sam noted, referring to a WSVN 7 News program that covered his story in-depth.
As is so often the case, Sam had a rental home that was under contract and awaiting a sale completion. It was kept vacant while he waited on permits to replace the roof. When he went to the home to check on it, he found the locks upside down on the house.
“Obviously, they were changed, all the locks that we put on are put on properly,” he contended. “So right away I realized that, okay, somebody has broken into this home and is probably hanging out there, so I called the police.”
FL landlord raises alarm on ‘absurd’ property rights after squatters invade her rental property https://t.co/SyfAcbWgWn pic.twitter.com/WckiytUu1j
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 24, 2023
He went in the back door but no squatters were there at the time. However, their belongings were and he confiscated them before changing all the locks. When the squatters returned, they confronted Sam verbally and physically. There were two teenagers and a woman.
“They started pushing us around, me and my workers, and screaming, yelling,” he recounted. “I have no idea who these people are, and I realize that obviously, these must be the people squatting.”
When the police arrived, the female squatter produced a fake lease.
“She knew what to say to the officers,” Sam stated. “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.”
Lesbian squatters with ’15’ pit bulls reportedly lay waste to FL rental property, throw feces at owners https://t.co/RQeBKmRNZ6 pic.twitter.com/MnePZNWx4Z
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 17, 2023
The police informed Sam that he had to turn on the utilities for the squatters and give them the key to the house until the matter was thrashed out in court.
Sam paid a $1,000 retainer to an attorney and then contacted “Help Me Howard,” which is a local TV show that helps viewers solve their legal problems. After the first episode aired, Sam received a call from a police sergeant.
“He says, ‘I heard you’re having a problem, tell me what’s going on,’” the landlord recalled. “So I told him and I said, you know, I’ve hired an attorney already and he said, ‘Stop.'”
That was when the police officer shared with Sam a little-known Florida statute that stated squatters can be removed from the premises if he signs an affidavit as long as the squatter is a transient trespasser and not a former renter.
“I was shocked,” Sam commented. “All you have to do is sign this affidavit that you’re the owner and this person is just a transient trespasser and we have the authority and the police department has the authority to take them out.”
He lost his retainer when he closed the case with the attorney. Sam then made sure that the police also closed theirs so the affidavit method could take effect. And it worked like a charm. The police helped Sam secure his home and his nightmare was over just like that.
“She was cursing me out the entire time,” Sam remarked concerning the squatter. “As they passed us, they would scream and curse and she said, ‘I’m going to find you’ and other horrible things.”
While all this was going on, “Help Me Howard” and Sam uncovered that one of the squatters, Shaneria Josey, has faced nine evictions. A previous landlord told Sam that when he evicted her, she poured cement down the property’s pipes before leaving. That cost him $150,000 to repair.
Sam didn’t come out of the mess unscathed. He lost his buyer for the home and it cost him about $15,000 in damages.
“I ended up putting the house back into contract and I actually increased the asking price of the house by $15,000, and I got it,” he happily noted. “So I ended up recouping all the money that I had lost.”
Sam wants to help other landlords being victimized by squatters.
“I try to help,” he said. “I try to tell everybody pretty much, ‘Hey, this is what I did, it’s really that simple, and you just have to make sure you get your police department to service it.”
“I hope that this will help make landlords and investors more aware of this statute and hopefully encourage new legislation in other states and municipalities,” Sam concluded.
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