April 9, 2024

Squatting in New York

It’s a growing problem across the country, especially in New York City, and primarily because of leftist policies.

Squatting is theft. Not recognizing it as such is to embrace the immoral notion that Marxism preaches — that only the state has a right to property. Of course, this is justified by the notion that everyone collectively owns the property. But if everyone owns it, no one actually owns anything.

Thus, when it comes to squatting, which has been gaining a lot more press lately thanks in large part to Joe Biden’s open borders, the notion of “squatters’ rights” is increasingly being challenged.

It wasn’t that long ago that squatters’ rights were expanded in New York City, for example. In 2019, NYC enacted an amendment to the city’s Real Property Actions Proceedings Law 711, which required a property owner to engage in “a special proceeding” before the owner could kick out a squatter.

And it’s not as if the Big Apple didn’t already have a ridiculous squatters’ rights law on the books anyway, as a person could invoke squatters’ rights after just 30 days of occupying a home. The rest of the state only recognizes a tenant’s rights after at least 10 years of living in a home.

According to real estate lawyer Alan Goldberg, NYC’s squatters’ rights amendment has led to a 10% to 20% increase in lawsuits filed against squatters.

Adding to the insanity is a recent report that NYC homeowners whose properties have been squatted on have been told that they would be “arrested instantly” if they sought to evict squatters or even stop paying the water and electric bills for their properties. “They turned off the hot water and then reported that they had no hot water,” according to one homeowner named Susan Mascara. “It’s a $250 fine per day, up to $15,000 punishable by five years in jail.”

Given this problem, it comes as no surprise that a well-run state like Florida would act to protect homeowners’ rights against the lawlessness that appears to be growing in places like New York City.

But it’s not just Republicans who see the notion of “squatters’ rights” as a problem. Leave it to Pennsylvania Democrat Senator John Fetterman to insightfully and directly argue against the problem.

“Squatters have no rights,” Fetterman recently stated. He then asked the obvious: “How can you even pretend that this is anything other than you’re just breaking the law?" Exactly. But he didn’t stop there. "It’s wild,” he continued, “that if you go away on a long trip, for 30 days, and someone breaks into your home and suddenly they have rights. This is crazy. Like if somebody stole your car, and then they held it for 30 days, then somehow [they] now have some rights?”

The fundamental problem with many of today’s Democrats is their embrace of radical leftist ideology, which argues against foundational American ideals like property rights and law and order. Or the concept of equality under the law. Just because one person has more than another doesn’t mean that the first one is somehow guilty of oppression or of succeeding through ill-gotten means.

Those who do the hard work, who save and plan and make wise decisions on how they invest and spend their money, should enjoy the fruits of their labor, regardless of whether others didn’t put in the hard work, didn’t take the time to plan or wisely invest, and as a result ended up with very little.

At the root of the “squatters’ rights” notion is a justification of an envy-based ethic: If there are people who have more than others, those others should be entitled to have the same, irrespective of the circumstances. Indeed, this envy is at the root of woke ideology. Politicians who appeal to this supposed “fairness” ethic are actually playing into those base emotions of envy and entitlement. Good for Fetterman to unequivocally call out this “squatters’ rights” nonsense for what it is: theft.

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