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Mazzei Minute: 04/12/24

Don’t leave your house for too long, or you might be fighting squatters to get back in! For many Oklahomans, their largest and most important investment is their home: their private property stake in the American Dream.  However, a new shocking outrage is taking place across the country when squatters sneak into an unoccupied home and take over.  

In a Tulsa neighborhood near you, a small business owner reports that a family settled into a house on his street while the home has been empty after the death of the owner. The heirs to the property have had a rough go of getting the squatters out, even as neighbors have reported to the police late night parties and aggravating annoyances.

In most states, including Oklahoma, the Landlord-Tenant Act lays out the procedures to evict squatters. This process can take days, weeks and sometimes months while the squatters live rent free and damage someone else’s property. Even more alarming is a TikTok that went viral in March encouraging illegal migrants to “invade” vacant American homes to gain possession.

House Bill 621, recently approved in Florida, halts the insanity by authorizing property owners to request action by the sheriff’s office to immediately remove unauthorized persons from a private home. “We are putting an end to squatter scams in Florida,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Oklahoma Legislature needs to follow Florida’s lead and do the same. Senate Bill 456, filed in 2023, attempted to change property law to target squatters but never made it to a final vote. That legislation needs to be revisited to protect Oklahoma homeowners from scam artists that are out to invade your home.


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