Illegal Migrants Invading Homes!

( Although many prospective homeowners in the United States are struggling to purchase houses for their families, one TikTok influencer is encouraging people to simply “invade” unoccupied houses and claim ownership under so-called squatter’s rights laws. The social media post has garnered millions of views, as well as backlash from people who believe the influencer is promoting criminal activity.

The influencer, Leonel Moreno, delivered the message in Spanish to his more than half a million subscribers on TikTok. Laws in the US protect people who “take over” unoccupied properties, Moreno said. Moreno claimed to have African friends who seized seven houses using the method.

Moreno’s argument is based on the common law principle of adverse possession, which can allow people to legally acquire ownership through continuous occupation. However, the details of the law differ based on jurisdiction. One commenter accused Moreno of encouraging an illegal act, and another claimed his post could amount to promoting terrorism.

In New York City, such laws resulted in the arrest of a homeowner who attempted to evict squatters from her family’s house. Police arrested Adele Andalaro and charged her with unlawful eviction after she tried to change the locks on a house passed down to her from her parents, following the discovery of squatters on the property.

New York City recognizes squatter’s rights after 30 days of occupation, preventing homeowners from changing locks, removing belongings, or cutting utilities to the property. Police told Andalaro that she has to resolve the dispute in housing court.

Whereas Andalaro was charged for trying to defend her house, another woman was allegedly murdered by two squatters occupying her deceased mother’s apartment in Manhattan. The New York City Police Department said that they believe the woman was murdered after walking in on a pair of squatters in the home, which had been vacant for several months following her mother’s death.

The two suspects in the murder case allegedly fled to Pennsylvania in the victim’s car, where they crashed the vehicle, which police found abandoned. The suspects were last spotted attempting to buy a new car at dealerships in Pennsylvania.

It remains to be seen whether Moreno’s public encouragement of squatting to millions of people will lead to more such homeowner arrests and murders.

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