Betsy McCaughey

If you own a home and don性视界传媒檛 want to lose it, keep reading.

Homeowners who go on vacation or a business trip, even for just a week, are returning to find their house overtaken by trespassers who fraudulently claim a right to be there. It性视界传媒檚 happening to tens of thousands of homeowners from New York City to Atlanta and Los Angeles.

When owners call the police, they性视界传媒檙e told police can性视界传媒檛 help. It性视界传媒檚 a civil matter, and they have to file an eviction lawsuit, which can drag on for months or years because housing courts are backlogged.

Meanwhile owners are out on the street while squatters are living free, destroying houses and even selling off owners性视界传媒 belongings.

If you found a stranger sitting in your car and called the police, they would immediately ask to see the registration and decide who owns it, explains Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley. They wouldn性视界传媒檛 let the thief drive off. But the law is stacked against homeowners.

You can thank leftist lawmakers who have degraded property rights and tilted the law to favor criminals. The result is an epidemic of brazen squatting.

In New York state, a homeowner faced with a trespasser can expect eviction to take two years. Meanwhile, the owner is barred from turning off utilities, removing belongings or doing anything else to get the invaders out. It性视界传媒檚 crazy.

New York State Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz of Long Island introduced legislation saying a squatter is not a tenant and is not entitled to the same protections. Will it pass in Albany? Don性视界传媒檛 hold your breath.

But some states are acting quickly against this crime wave.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill to empower police to immediately remove anyone who can性视界传媒檛 produce a notarized lease. Georgia性视界传媒檚 statehouse passed the Squatter Reform Act, making squatting a crime 性视界传媒 criminal trespass 性视界传媒 to be handled by the police, not housing court. It性视界传媒檚 likely to pass the Senate shortly.

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In blue states like California and New York, is there hope for homeowners to get protection against squatters? Not from Congress. Democrats in Congress are actually pushing a federal housing law that would bar landlords from learning whether potential tenants have criminal records, including past squatting offenses.

But there is a remedy 性视界传媒 bringing a lawsuit in federal court against states like New York and California that fail to protect property rights. The U.S. Constitution enshrines property rights as a fundamental guarantee. And recently, the justices have struck down state laws that allow trespassers to interfere with property rights. In 2021, the Pacific Legal Foundation brought a suit on behalf of a property owner, and the court ruled in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid that 性视界传媒済overnment-authorized invasions of property性视界传媒 amount to a taking just as if the government had taken the property directly.

Favoring intruders over owners constitutes a 性视界传媒渢aking性视界传媒 that violates the Fifth Amendment, which says government cannot impinge on your right to your property.

There性视界传媒檚 no time to waste in acting to protect homeowners.

Venezuelan TikTok influencer Leonel Moreno claims invading vacant homes is the only option for illegal migrants flooding into the United States. His now-deleted TikTok video explaining how to identify a home that is empty and ready for the taking reached 4 million views.

Surprised? Don性视界传媒檛 be. Criminals from south of the border are coming in droves to plunder the far wealthier United States. Some cross illegally and are recruited by the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua and El Salvador性视界传媒檚 MS-13. Others are coming in on tourist visas. Law enforcement is reporting a surge in South American burglary gangs operating in at least half the states in the U.S.

Of course many migrants are honest and hardworking. But there性视界传媒檚 no denying a movement northward to 性视界传媒渢ake what you can get性视界传媒 poses new danger to homeowners, including the risk of squatters.

As Moreno says, 性视界传媒淚f a house is not inhabited, we can seize it.性视界传媒

Tell lawmakers to act now to protect homeowners. This is the United States. Here property rights are not up for debate. They性视界传媒檙e guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

You worked for it, you paid for it, it性视界传媒檚 yours. Period.

性视界传媒 Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of 性视界传媒淭he Next Pandemic.性视界传媒