Sheriff Grady Judd Issues Stark Warning to Squatters

( – Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd is warning squatters that they will end up in jail if they attempt to try “gimmicks” at homes in his jurisdiction.

He said that “the people’s laws will lock you up” if you violate the state’s laws within his jurisdiction.

Judd’s comments come after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Property Rights Bill (HB 621), a first-of-its-kind law in the United States that eliminates squatters’ rights and increases the penalties for offenders. The new legislation will allow property owners to fill out a form to request help from their local sheriff’s office in removing squatters from their property.

In an interview with Fox News, Judd said the new legislation will help provide clarity for law enforcement as to what they can do to help control the squatting problem. Judd stated that before the state passed the legislation, he used the existing laws for trespassing and robbery to help control the problem in Polk County. He questioned why states like California and New York are not using similar laws to tackle the problem, saying, “They’re just crazy” to let people stay in others’ homes for “weeks, months, years or days.”

Judd recalled how a realtor who had been showing a house called the Polk County Sheriff’s office after finding squatters inside the home. The squatters claimed that because nobody was there, they moved in, stating, “It’s our house.” Judd said he charged the squatters with burglary and moved the squatters out of the home and into the county jail. He added that some states appear to be encouraging the behavior as there are already laws on the books to prevent people from breaking in, trespassing, and moving into a home that is not theirs.

He questioned why states like New York allow people to continue to “violate the rules” and “victimize the good people.” He added that he “will be your worst enemy” if you violate Florida’s laws in his county.

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