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House Committee Begins Hearings on Legislation to Combat Squatting

May 7, 2024
Jeff LaRe News

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COLUMBUS –The House Criminal Justice Committee today began hearings on House Bill 478, legislation to provide homeowners remedies against squatting and increases penalties for squatting, announced bill sponsors, State Reps. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville).

The bill will explicitly specify the circumstances under which a property owner may request intervention by the county sheriff to remove an individual from their property. 

“This is a preventative measure that will directly protect Ohio property owners and close loopholes in Ohio law that squatters currently are able to take advantage of,” said LaRe during sponsor testimony. 

“We need to send a clear message that squatting will never be tolerated in this state and property owners have the right to defend and protect their property,” said Edwards.

The legislation will also increase penalties and designate squatting as a first-degree misdemeanor. If the individual causes damage to the property totaling more than $5,000, the penalty will increase to a fourth-degree felony. 

House Bill 478 awaits further consideration by the House Criminal Justice Committee.