Democrat Arizona governor vetoes bill that would have made it easier for homeowners to remove squatters
04/26/2024 // Cassie B. // Views

One of the less divisive issues making headlines recently is the growing problem of squatters and the overly permissive squatting laws in many states that enable them to live in homes that don’t belong to them for years while homeowners are helpless to kick them out. Most people are arguing in favor of making it easier to have squatters removed from properties, but Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs recently made a decisive move to help these criminals continue to live rent-free.

The Democrat governor recently vetoed state legislation that would empower homeowners to have squatters on their property removed by law enforcement officers almost immediately. Squatters would be treated as trespassers if they continued living in the home. Homeowners must currently go through long court battles and endless amounts of red tape before they can reclaim their property, and it appears that will remain the status quo in Arizona moving forward thanks to Gov. Hobbs' actions.

In her veto letter, she insisted that Senate Bill 1129 did not “respect the due process rights of lawful tenants” and claimed it may have “unintended consequences, such as for victims of domestic violence.”

Her assessment was so far off the mark that State Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), who drafted the legislation, asked if Hobbs had even read the bill, pointing out that it does not refer to lawful tenants and only addresses illegal occupants. Moreover, it specifically addresses family members and people with agreements to cohabitate.

She said: “Criminals are scheming to take over homes that aren’t theirs, posing a threat to the safety of homeowners and infringing on their private property rights”.

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Rogers also pointed out that numerous homeowners testified during committee hearings about the high costs of repairs they were responsible for after squatters severely damaged their property and the violation they felt that criminals took over their homes and could not be removed.

Another official, State Sen. Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson), described her personal experience finding a squatter occupying a home when she showed it to a client while she was working as a realtor.

"It was a terrifying threat to my safety, the safety of my clients, as well as to the homeowners," she said. "When I called the police, I was told there was not much they could do. It's a shame Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed yet another piece of commonsense bipartisan legislation."

The veto-happy governor has vetoed 52 bills so far during this legislative session following a record-breaking 143 vetoes last year.

Criminals are taking advantage of permissive squatting laws around the country

Criminals around the country have been abusing squatting laws, and many of them aren’t even trying to hide their illegal activity. For example, The National Pulse reports that Venezuelan illegal immigrant Leonel Moreno has attracted a significant following on TikTok for his videos instructing migrants on how they can take advantage of squatters’ rights to steal people’s homes.

In one video, he bragged about how his friends have taken over seven homes and explained: “I found out that there is a law that says that if a house is not inhabited, we can seize it.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken a much harsher stance against squatters than Gov. Hobbs, signing a bill into law that gives homeowners the right to ask police to expel squatters and applies harsh penalties to those who engage in the practice. Those who cause more than $1,000 in damages will be subject to second-degree penalties, and people attempting to rent or sell properties they do not own will face first-degree felony charges.

Learn more about concerns regarding squatters and homelessness at

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