Palmesano Joins Colleagues to Call for Passage of Legislation to Protect Property Owners from Squatters

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) joined Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski), Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz (R,C-Oyster Bay) and his Assembly Minority colleagues to call for legislative action to protect homeowners from squatters by clarifying the term “tenant” to exclude squatters and adding squatting to the definition of criminal trespass in a bill introduced by Blumencranz (A.6894). This comes on the heels of two cases, one in which a woman was arrested after she changed the locks on her own property that was being occupied by squatters. In the second case, Nadia Vitels was beaten and murdered by two squatters who were occupying her recently deceased mother's apartment.

“When you own a piece of property, it should belong to you, period. You shouldn’t have to worry that random people can camp in your home and then gain legal protections to stay there. We have already tragically seen the outcomes of such policies, people being arrested for changing the locks on their property, and even worse in New York City when a woman visiting from Spain was murdered by two squatters in her mother's apartment. Enough is enough, we cannot allow this lawlessness to continue, that is why I am proud to support this common-sense legislation to handle squatters properly, charging them with criminal trespass, and making sure homeowners are never held criminally liable for trying to evict them. This important bill is simply about property owners’ rights, public safety and making sure New Yorkers feel safe in their own properties,” said Palmesano.