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Kurt Heise Targets Vacant Home Squatting in Legislation

Heise expects to introduce anti-squatting legislation in March.

State Rep. Kurt Heise currently is working on legislative reform and regional coordination efforts to combat illegal home squatting, according to a news release from Heise's office.

Heise, R-Plymouth Township, is chairman of  the Criminal Justice Committee in the State House and is developing legislation with the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Counties, courts, financial institutions and law enforcement to address the issue as the housing market deals with high volumes of vacancies and foreclosures, the news release indicated.  

"Squatting" is where individuals illegally gain entry to a vacant or foreclosed home and begin living in the dwelling.  

"We must make squatting less attractive, and to expedite the process in removing squatters from homes through new legislation and reform," Heise said in the news release. "This problem is not isolated to a particular city or county, and is often done with pro-squatting advisers who actually train squatters on the current law."

Heise argues in the news release that homeowners and lenders suffer from squatting because it slows down the sale process and communities suffer because the homes can become areas of blight.

Squatters also can bring illegal activity into a neighborhood, the news release indicated. 

Heise stressed that his proposed legislation will not impact people who are having trouble paying a mortgage on their home.  

"I know there are hard-working families who are having a tough time paying their bills, and may get behind on their mortgage," he said in the news release.

"These reforms are not about them; we are talking about people illegally entering and living in homes that they don't own.  That's not fair to the rest of us who are working to honor our commitments.

"We've found that squatting isn't just about a few individuals finding their way into abandoned houses," Heise said in the news release. "This is becoming a problem across the region, and the entire state. Legislatively, we want to make squatting unattractive to individuals, and to create penalties for anyone assisting them. We must make the penalties stiff, and the eviction process swift and streamlined."

Heise expects to introduce anti-squatting legislation in March.  

C. E. February 28, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Denise, you think this is the only peice of legislation he's working on? lol.
Paul Hazelton February 28, 2013 at 08:09 PM
There are vacant homes in every community and I'm glad this is being address.
Boiling February 28, 2013 at 09:36 PM
C.E.: No he is working on more bills to limit your rights and give more of your hard earned money to big business. This bill, although on the surface looks like it is protecting all of us, is actually a payback to mortgage companies and banks, not us, the working for less class.
C. E. February 28, 2013 at 09:50 PM
I had a friend who recently purchased a forclosed home. In the time between her offer being accepted and closing on the house, a squatter moved in and she was unable to move in to her new home until they went through the whole eviction process..which took months. How would you like to be paying a mortgage on a home occupied by a squatter? This was in Farmington Hills, not the inner city.
Bill P March 06, 2013 at 05:44 AM
I'm with Heise on this one. My initial thought was why should we in Northville or anywhere in this great area be concerned about this 'squatting' issue? Why not just let the local police use existing B&E, trespassing or other similar legislation already on the books to move those people out and on their way, just as the Township does with the vacant 7 Mile Hospital property. But then I read the other posted comments and reflected on various similar incidents I have had locally with rental properties and what that occasionally escalated into once 'they' got into court; rental losses, property damages, utility billings I got stuck paying - not to mention insurance and liability issues you wouldn't believe unless you've been a landlord. Even the (too many) times I voluntarily walked into the 'have a heart' scenario and gave these poor folks a break situation I frequently wound up with them wanting not only a bit of heart but also as much blood as they could take with it. So if Heise wants to tackle it let him do it. For one thing he might wind up giving the local judges a clear piece of legislation they can use in the courtroom (again, you have to have experience as a rental property owner to know what this means). As to why should we bother being concerned about what is currently a relatively minor issue locally; because the world is changing and this little issue is probably going to quickly grow a whole lot larger. .

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