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Assemblyman Gallahan calls for housing legal reforms after squatting incident

In response to a tragic incident and rising squatting-related issues in New York, Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan (R,C-Manchester) advocated for legal reforms during an Assembly Republican press conference on March 27, 2024. Gallahan highlighted the case of Nadia Vitels, a victim of a violent attack by squatters in her late mother’s apartment, as a catalyst for change. The proposed bill seeks to redefine the term “tenant” to explicitly exclude squatters, aiming to protect homeowners from unauthorized occupancy.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Gallahan expressed deep concern over the current legal system’s failure to safeguard New York residents from squatters, citing the death of Vitels and the broader impact on homeowners forced to deal with unwanted occupants. The increase in squatting incidents across the state has prompted calls for legislative action to prevent further tragedies and financial, mental, and emotional strain on property owners.

The proposed legal adjustment aims to empower New York families by ensuring that the term “tenant” does not shield squatters, thereby prioritizing homeowner rights and public safety. Gallahan’s support for the bill underscores a critical need for legal clarity and protection for New Yorkers against the misuse of tenant laws by squatters.