City Council Member Vickie Paladino Addresses Squatting Issues That Negatively Impact Homeowners Throughout NYC

Posted By Jonathan Freeman

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Vickie Paladino, a councilwoman from Queens, has been vocal about her concerns regarding squatters’ rights laws and their impact on property owners. (See Video Below) Paladino has expressed her frustration over current laws that she believes unfairly favor squatters over homeowners, particularly highlighting a law that allows squatters to claim ownership of empty buildings after 30 days. This situation has led her to push for legislative reforms aimed at providing property owners with more rights and extending the period before squatters can claim tenancy rights​​.

Although Paladino’s advocacy has been fueled by cases within her community, this is an issue that is impacting homeowners throughout New York City,  where homeowners have struggled with squatters occupying their properties. For example, a property owner in Bayside dealt with seven squatters living in a home intended for sale, leading to significant financial and legal complications for the owner. This case, among others, has prompted Paladino to rally community support for legislative changes. She has been involved in public rallies alongside affected homeowners and landlords, sharing stories of the difficulties they’ve faced due to the protective legal framework surrounding squatters. Paladino emphasizes that these situations highlight a “crime of opportunity” and has called for bipartisan support to address the issue​​.

One notable action Paladino took was confronting a squatter in College Point, who was allegedly causing distress in the neighborhood. This encounter was part of her broader campaign to shed light on the challenges property owners face and the need for legislative changes to address squatters’ rights​​.

Efforts are underway, with proposed legislation in Albany seeking to extend the tenancy rights period to 45 days and clarify the definition of “tenant” to exclude squatters. If passed, this legislation would also categorize squatting as criminal trespass in the third degree, aiming to provide more balanced protections for property owners and renters alike​. However, Paladino wants the tenancy rights period extended to 180 days because as she states in the interview with Marcia Kramer, “a tenant can wake up one morning and decide they do not wan to pay rent anymore”. She says those tenants who stop paying rent for no legitimate reason now becomes a “squatter”.

Many small two and three family homeowners are afraid to rent long term because they rely on the rental income to pay their mortgage, and if a tenant decides not to pay their rent the homeowner will not be able to pay their mortgage. Paladino might be a Republican but her common sense approach to the issue of squatting resonates with Democrats and Republicans across the city.

New York City needs to put safeguards in place for small homeowners who are just trying to makes ends meet when it comes to surviving in one of the most expensive cities in the world.



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