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Bills targeting squatters goes into effect

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A number of bills adopted by the Alabama Legislature this past session recently went into effect over the weekend, including a bill that expedites the process by which a squatter can be removed from a dwelling.

Sponsored by Rep. Craig Lipscomb, R-Gadsden, House Bill 182 grants property owners the ability to have an individual removed from a dwelling after a period of 24 hours.

Lipscomb has said the bill was designed to target squatters, which are individuals who take up residence in a property that is not their own, often with the intent on establishing what are referred to as ‘squatters’ rights,’ which in some states establish legal protections prohibiting their removal for a set amount of time, depending on the state.

In Alabama, squatters’ rights can be established after an individual resides in a dwelling for 20 years. 

Under the new law, for an individual to have another person removed from their property, they must affirm the property is their own by signing a sworn affidavit. Law enforcement is then required to remove the individual after a 24-hour period. 

A criminal penalty is also established for the false signing of an affidavit, and falls under the state’s perjury statute, a Class A misdemeanor.

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