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Anti-squatting bill signed into Alabama law

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(The Center Square) – Bolstering the rights of property owners through legislation combatting the practice of squatting in houses has been signed into Alabama law.

Second-term Republican Gov. Kay Ivey this week signed House Bill 182, which gained unanimous approval from both chambers. It takes effect June 1.

Squatting is the act of people who do not own a house going in and setting up residence. Eviction can be tough, pending the laws.

“It has been said that a person’s home is their castle, yet after a national rise in illegal occupations of homeowner’s private property, it is apparent that more must be done to halt criminals from commandeering people’s homes,” Ivey said in a release.

The legislation sponsored by Rep. Craig Lipscomb, R-Gadsden, creates penalties for the falsification of real estate documents. It would also establish a process to eject squatters who occupy a dwelling without authorization.

The bill would impose a fee of up to $50 per affidavit processed to help law enforcement fund removal of squatters from properties.

“In Alabama, private property rights are paramount,” Ivey said. “This new law puts would-be squatters on notice that any attempt to hijack and take over someone’s home will be met with swift action by law enforcement.

“The best dwelling for an illegal squatter is a jail cell, and we in state government should never rest easy until all Alabama homeowners’ rights are fully protected.”

The new law is part of a crackdown on squatting in many Republican-dominated states. Gov. Brian Kemp in neighboring Georgia signed the most recent bill outlawing the practice and providing means by which property owners can rid themselves of those illegally occupying their property.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed similar legislation on March 27.

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