Land owner protection law is needed


There are places where tenant interests are favored over land owner interests and where it’s really difficult to evict a squatter.

We need a common sense federal law that allows a land owner to request eviction of any occupant of a residential or commercial property who has not signed a lease agreement with the owner, or who has not signed a lease agreement with any authorized occupant whose own lease with the owner allows subleasing the property.

This law would simply protect owners from squatters and unauthorized permanent guests. It would allow property owners to appeal any denied eviction request where the tenant has not provided evidence such as a signed lease agreement (and obviously, which is not forged).

Tenants must keep their signed agreements in a safe place.

All other state and federal laws protecting tenants from abuse by landlords would still apply to authorized tenants.

If a city allows and even protects squatters for the purpose of making productive use of abandoned properties, that should be clearly separated from any live-in situation and also the procedure and timelines for the owner to repossess the premises should be made very clear. During their temporary possession of abandoned property, squatters should be aware that they don’t own the property so they don’t have permission to make any building improvements, especially those that would require a permit. If the owner is reachable they would have to give permission. If the owner is unreachable, the city would have to give permission. However, when the owner returns they do not need to reimburse the squatter. Squatters should not invest more than they are willing to lose if the owner returns tomorrow and starts the repossession timeline.

There needs to be a minimum period of time during which the property is probably abandoned and the owner is unreachable in order for a squatter to move in. If the city doesn’t have proof this was followed, then the city must not favor the interests of the squatter over those of the owner.

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