Woman Jailed for Evicting Squatters from Home

(IntegrityTimes.com) – After Adele Andaloro’s parents died, she inherited their home in Flushing, Queens. Andalaro already has a home, so she decided to sell it only to be brought up short by a group of squatters who had taken over the vacant property and were now claiming tenant’s rights. In New York City, a person only needs to live in a residence for 30 days to claim tenant rights, without any lease agreements and without ever paying any rent. They can even claim tenant rights without the property owner’s permission or even knowledge that they are occupying the property.

On February 29 Andaloro went to the property as part of an investigative report by ABC 7 News. A woman inside the house left the door open, so Andaloro entered the home and confronted those within. She found two men inside who claimed they were tenants. She asked them to leave and one of them called the police. When the police arrived, and the men were unable to produce any kind of lease agreement they were escorted out.

Andaloro then had a locksmith change the locks on the doors, but then the two men and the police returned. As it is illegal for a landlord to change the locks without giving the tenants a key, Andaloro was then arrested for unlawful eviction. Police told her that the squatters could not be simply kicked out, and that she would need to take them to court. Eviction cases tend to take roughly 20 months to resolve in New York. Andaloro is now in the process of filing for eviction in landlord-tenant court.

Squatter’s rights are a growing area of contention in many areas around the country. While it is important for lawful tenants to have legal rights against unfair rental practices, legislation that was put into place for their protection is increasingly being used by unscrupulous people to defraud property owners. With the combined disasters of the housing crisis and the migrant crisis, these cases are gaining more public attention and with it, shocked outrage by average citizens who had no notion that criminals are being favored over legal property owners.

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