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UPDATE: NY Squatter Law Amended

UPDATE: NY Squatter Law Amended

A new amendment to the Real Property Actions and Proceeding Law passed this week, clarifying what is considered a landlord-tenant relationship and excluding squatters from legal protections like formal eviction proceeding.

The amendment (section 711, ch. 81, art. 7) makes clear that: "A tenant shall not include a squatter" and defines a squatter as "a person who enters onto or intrudes upon real property without the permission of the person entitled to possession, and continues to occupy the property without title, right or permission of the owner or owner's agent or a person entitled to possession."

This means that squatters are specifically excluded from the legal rights and protections afforded to lawful occupants of a property, and can be removed by law enforcement without the need for formal eviction proceedings.

However, this does not mean a property owner is entitled to forcefully remove a squatter themselves. Such eviction should only be handled by authorities. Moreover, since every situation is different and legal complications may arise that could render the owner liable, it's highly advisable to consult with an experienced attorney first.

The new amendment follows a new bill, signed by Governor Hochul last month, April 23, limiting the rights of squatters (which until now were still considered tenants).

The bill was passed in response to the veritable pandemic of squatter cases across New York State, particularly Queens and Long Island.

More background can be found in our April 26 post.