JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The woman who fell victim to squatters taking over her home is now using her experience to help others who could be dealing with the same issue.
Patti Peeples’ home was illegally occupied for more than 40 days by people she did not rent to. She said once the illegal tenants left, she wanted to make sure a situation such as hers never happened to others, so she created a website to provide access to useful information.
The website is called PushOutSquatters.org. Peeples said she spent hours online looking up information to help get the unwanted visitors out of her home.
She soon discovered there wasn’t much help for landlords trying to legally remove illegal occupants.
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“The kinds of things that are on the website will include resources for legal options, where to find statutes and regulations, other squatter stories so that we as a community of landlords can learn from each other,” Peeples said.
The home had to undergo some renovations after the squatters caused thousands of dollars in damages before they finally left.
Since launching the website, she’s received over 30 messages of squatter stories.
The website will also feature a section that directs people to things they shouldn’t do if they’re in-between renters or selling a home.
“Don’t put a for sale sign in the front. That’s just advertising to potential squatters that the house is probably vacant,” she said.
Peeples is asking anyone with tips to send them on the website as well.
She also has plans to speak with local and state leaders to advocate for more homeowner rights.