New York Passes Law to Protect Homeowners from Squatters After $1 Million Home Theft Case

New York passes law to protect homeowners from squatters, making it easier to evict unauthorized occupants and reclaim properties after a high-profile case where a landlord was arrested for trying to evict squatters from her $1 million home.

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Salman Akhtar
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New York Passes Law to Protect Homeowners from Squatters After $1 Million Home Theft Case

New York Passes Law to Protect Homeowners from Squatters After $1 Million Home Theft Case

New York legislators have passed legislation to protect homeowners from squatters following a high-profile case where a landlord was handcuffed while trying to evict unauthorized occupants from her $1 million home in Queens. The new law, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul as part of the 2024 state budget agreement, specifically excludes squatters from tenant protections under state law, making it easier for police to intervene in squatting cases and sparing homeowners lengthy legal battles.

The legislation was prompted by the case of Brian Rodriguez, who allegedly commandeered and sublet a home in Queens, leading to a confrontation with the owner, Adele Andaloro. Andaloro was arrested after attempting to change the locks on the property, an incident that spurred legislators to take action. "The optics of a homeowner being taken from their own home in handcuffs inspired the lawmakers to act," said a real estate lawyer familiar with the case.

Under the new law, the definition of a "squatter" has been changed to someone who resides on a property without the owner's permission. This closes a loophole that previously afforded squatters the same rights as tenants, leaving homeowners powerless to reclaim their properties without going through housing court, a process that could span months or even years.

Why this matters: The anti-squatter legislation is seen as a turning point in addressing the growing problem of home takeovers in New York. It provides homeowners with stronger legal recourse to remove unauthorized occupants from their properties, protecting their rights and investment in their homes.

The viral video of Adele Andaloro being handcuffed while trying to evict squatters from her inherited $1 million home in Flushing served as a driving force behind the new legislation. The squatters had moved in after the death of Andaloro's parents and changed the locks, claiming they had done maintenance work despite lacking any tenancy agreement. "This is a game changer," said the real estate lawyer, emphasizing the significance of the new law in protecting homeowners' rights against squatters.

Key Takeaways

  • NY passes law to protect homeowners from squatters, excluding them from tenant protections.
  • Law prompted by case of landlord arrested for trying to evict squatters from $1M home.
  • New definition of "squatter" as someone without owner's permission, closing legal loophole.
  • Law provides homeowners stronger legal recourse to remove unauthorized occupants.
  • Legislation seen as a turning point in addressing the growing problem of home takeovers.