A Florida landlord discovered a little-known legal method for getting rid of squatters and wants to help other landlords
A Florida real estate investor is not doing squats.
He’s discovered a little-known legal method for getting rid of squatters and wants to help other landlords in the state avoid lengthy court battles by using an obscure Florida statute.
A landlord who wanted to be identified only by his first name, Sam, told Fox News that he was tipped off to a statute that allows cops to remove illegal occupants if landlords sign an affidavit saying they’re squatters.
He made the discovery after successfully lobbying a local TV station to cover his story in February.
“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 added, referring to the WSVN 7 News consumer aid show that covered his story.
Sam’s North Miami house, which was under contract for sale, was sitting empty while he awaited permits to replace the roof. Squatters took over and threatened Sam when he confronted them.
“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 squatter produced a fake lease.
Cops then told Sam he had to turn the utilities on and give them a house key until the issue was resolved in court.
But after contacting WSVN’s “Help Me Howard” show and starting what he expected to be lengthy legal proceedings, Sam got a call from a cop who told him that under a little-known Florida statute, squatters can be removed with a signed affidavit as long as the squatter is a transient trespasser and not a former renter.
The plan worked and police helped Sam secure the home, although it was not easy.
“She was cursing me out the entire time,” he said of one of the squatters. “As they passed us, they would scream and curse and she said, ‘I’m going to find you’ and other horrible things.”
Sam discovered that one of the squatters, Shaneria Josey, has faced nine evictions.
Sam contacted her previous landlord, who said Josey poured concrete down his property’s pipes after she was evicted but before she was out of the home.
The damage cost the landlord $150,000.