New ‘squatter’ unit stops illegal rentals

New ‘squatter’ unit stops illegal rentalsNew ‘squatter’ unit stops illegal rentals
Det. Jose Hernandez details squatter scams.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] high rate of foreclosures in Miami-Dade has spawned a new police unit designed to remove “squatters” from empty houses while zeroing in on “scam” rentals of vacant homes.
The twofold problem “began with the number of homes left vacant by owners who couldn’t sell properties during the recent economic downturn years,” explained Det. Jose Hernandez, who was accompanied by Det. Rody Gaston, during a Mar. 25 at a Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in West Kendall.

As members of a four-officer “Squatter Task Force,” they assist rightful owners of property (i.e. real estate agents, banks holding foreclosure paper and management companies) to remove people who break in and occupy vacant homes.

Those occupancies are compounded by a growing number of cases of illegal rental of vacant units by fake landlords, he said. In addition, house squatters are getting bolder, moving into homes and staying for free, then citing adverse possession law, which allows a person to claim title to an abandoned property after occupying it for a certain amount of time.

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