NYC Council Proposes New Bill To Remove Squatters And Help Them Find Housing

A New York City councilwoman has introduced a new bill aimed at combatting the city’s squatting issues.

Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore) introduced new legislation on Thursday, May 16, which aims to launch a task force that would remove squatters and help them find legal housing, SI Live reports. If passed, the FDNY, NYPD, and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) would remove squatters and work with abandoned property owners to make sure the locations don’t attract more squatters.

“This bill would create an interagency taskforce to address issues regarding squatting in the city, including the removal of persons squatting on properties, helping them find legitimate housing,” Hanks said.

The legislation also takes on growing concern over NYC’s lenient laws on squatting. In New York, there is a policy where someone who has been able to successfully illegally occupy a property for 30 days or more are now entitled to what is called “Squatter’s Rights.”

In April, New York lawmakers voted to change a property law stating that “a tenant should not include a squatter.” The vote came after a homeowner was detained for changing the locks to prevent a squatter from subletting her home.

In NYC, the process to evict an accused squatter can take time and make for a burdensome legal process. It currently takes an average of 20 months for an eviction case to be resolved in New York City, according to the Rent Stabilization Association.

If Hanks’ bill is passed it will also help owners clarify ownership of properties that aren’t currently occupied.

The legislation will “Identify] properties where people are or might be squatting, communicating with the owners of abandoned properties to ensure that such properties do not remain abandoned, and notifying the owners of abandoned properties of their obligation to maintain such properties, and enforcing that obligation,” it states.

RELATED CONTENT: Analysis: Are Squatters Rights Just Tenant Rights By Another Name?

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