Addressing The Squatter Crisis: Assemblyman Bendett Joins Effort for Legal Reform

A Statement From Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R,C-Sand Lake)

Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R,C-Sand Lake) joined his fellow colleagues in the Assembly Minority to address the growing issue of squatters infiltrating neighborhoods and abusing legal loopholes that bar landlords from removing squatters from their properties. Assembly Bill 6894 would add “squatting” to the definition of criminal trespass. The proposed legislation comes after a New York woman was arrested and charged with unlawful eviction after changing the locks on her property, which was being occupied by squatters, and a separate incident where another woman was murdered by squatters after discovering them in an apartment left behind by her deceased mother.

“Landlords have had their rights compromised by laws that punish property owners. When squatters occupy a property, they often create unsafe and unsanitary conditions, which can put the property and neighboring residents at risk. Enabling landlord rights allows property owners to have the ability to use their property as they see fit. Landlords deserve fair treatment under the law, they rely on rental income to cover mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance costs and other expenses associated with property ownership,” said Bendett.

“While laws and regulations are in place to protect tenants from exploitation and ensure their rights are upheld, it's important to strike a balance that also considers the rights and interests of landlords. Punishing property owners for the actions of squatters can undermine this balance and discourage investment in rental properties, which are essential for providing housing options in many communities,” Bendett concluded.