What Can We Learn From Randy Quaid’s Misadventures? Insights on Squatter Laws in Florida

Actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, were arrested in 2010 in California on burglary charges. It turns out the couple sold their California home and then attempted to move back in, without permission from the new owners. The new owners alleged that the Quaids caused $5K in damages during their invasion. The homeowners, turned squatters, turned vandalizers allegedly skipped bail to Canada and applied for asylum. Evi’s request for Canadian citizenship was approved, but not Randy’s, and in October 2015, the couple attempted to enter Vermont to avoid his deportation. The Quaids were held in prison for six days, until a Vermont judge found flaws in their California court paperwork and said they were free to go. Super Quazy (couldn’t resist)!

Insights on Squatter Laws in Florida

So, what can we learn from this former prolific character actor?

We can talk all about the recent squatter laws in Florida. Going into effect on July 1, 2024, is the “Property Rights” bill (HB 621), which seeks to provide homeowners remedies against squatting and increases penalties on squatters. The bill will impose criminal charges on the squatters:

  • A first-degree misdemeanor for making a false statement in writing to obtain real property or for knowingly and willfully presenting a falsified document conveying property rights.
  • A second-degree felony for any person who unlawfully occupies or trespasses in a residential dwelling and who intentionally causes $1,000 or more in damages.
  • A first-degree felony for knowingly advertising the sale or rent of a residential property without legal authority or ownership.

The bill also authorizes the sheriff’s office to immediately remove unauthorized individuals from people’s homes. This will reduce or eliminate the need to go through the pesky court system for an eviction of squatters. In Florida, the term “squatter’s rights” will be an oxymoron shortly.

So, there you have it, folks! We learn that Canada has a deportation process (who knew!) and that soon it won’t be worth it to be a squatter in Florida.

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With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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