Texas Governor Greg Abbott apparently did not hold back very much when he issued a brutal and blunt warning to squatters that have taken over properties throughout the state. He issued the warning directly through one of his official social media profiles.

Governor Abbott: ‘Anyone ‘Squatting’ In Your Home Is Breaking The Law’

Abbott wrote in a recent X/Twitter post that “anyone ‘squatting’ in your home is breaking the law” in Texas. He specifically stated that they are “criminals violating [Texas] laws like criminal trespass and criminal mischief.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons/NASA Johnson Space Center

Abbott even went as far as citing the penal code reference that specifically noted the charges involved – Texas Penal Code 30.05 and 28.03

Texas Penal Code 30.05 – ‘Criminal Trespass’

According to the state law, a person is guilty of “criminal trespass” if they enter or remain on or within a property of another “without effective consent.” This applies to residential properties, agricultural land, recreational vehicle parks, buildings, and “a general residential operation operating as a residential treatment center.”

Source: Pixabay

The state law also indicates that the alleged trespasser must have “had notice that the entry was forbidden.” On the other hand, they could have “received notice to depart but failed to do so.”

Texas Penal Code 28.03 – ‘Criminal Mischief’

According to the state law, a person can be charged with “criminal mischief” if they “intentionally or knowingly” damage or destroy the “tangible property of the owner.” They could also be charged by tampering with the property and causing “pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner of a third person.”

Source: Pixabay

In addition, this charge would apply if the person “makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.”

Abbott Says That Texans Are Empowered ‘To Use Force’ To Defend Their Property

Abbott added that the “Texas Castle Doctrine empowers Texans to use force to defend themselves and their property.” The Castle Doctrine is a legal principle that lets residents use deadly force to defend themselves, and their property from attackers or intruders.

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This doctrine is one of the reasons why many feel as if Texas has some of the strongest defense of property and self-defense laws in the United States. The doctrine itself Is not laid out within a single law; it is included in the provisions within the Penal Code that govern the lawful use of force.

Texas Resident Hired Acquaintance-Turned-Squatter For Tile Work Project

Texas resident Abram Mendez reportedly hired an acquaintance to complete a tile work project on a fixer-upper home that he purchased for his family. There was some tile work that needed to be done on multiple floors.

Source: Pixabay/Mabel Amber

The acquaintance agreed to do it but stated that he needed a place to live for a few days. Abram wrote up a contract that specifically stated the man would finish the work and leave the property. However, the work is reportedly unfinished and the man has barricaded himself in the home, refusing to leave.

A Squatter Can Claim Adverse Possession In Texas After Meeting Specific Requirements

According to Texas Prop Code 16.024-16.026, a squatter can claim “adverse possession” of a property if he or she meets specific requirements. For instance, they must occupy the property “with color of title” for a minimum of three consecutive years.

Source: Pixabay/F. Muhammad

They must also have a recorded deed that is in their name, pay all the taxes associated with the property, and cultivate the land in question for a minimum of five consecutive years. They could also work to improve the land for a minimum of ten consecutive years if the land is less than 160 acres.

Texas Lawyer States Intent Of ‘Adverse Possession’ Is Not ‘To Reward Bad Behavior’

Nohl Bryant, an attorney in San Antonio, stated that the concept of adverse possession was not designed to benefit squatters that are stealing homes and properties. He stated that the “intent behind adverse possession is to reward people who take care of the property and put it to good use.”

Source: Pixabay/Leandro Aguilar

Bryant further explained that it was “not designed to reward bad behavior.”

White House Press Secretary: ‘This Is Obviously A Local Issue’

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about squatters and homeowners attempting to reclaim their property during a press briefing on Monday. Jean-Pierre responded by saying that her understanding was that it was “obviously a local issue.”

Source: YouTube/Washington Post

She added that the White House was “certainly tracking that issue.”

White House Press Secretary: ‘It Is Critical That Local Governments Take Action’

Jean-Pierre continued by stating that the “rights of property owners and renters must be protected.” However, ultimately, she stated that “what needs to happen is the local government needs to make sure that they address this and they take action.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Jean-Pierre emphasized her comments by repeating that the issue of squatters was a “local issue.” She concluded by stating that “it is critical that local governments take action to address it.”

Squatters’ Rights Have Become A Major Topic Of Discussion In The U.S.

The rights of squatters, or those who have “adverse possession” of a property, has been featured in quite a few headlines in recent weeks. Several states have noted increases in attempts made by homeowners to remove squatters from their property.

Source: Pixabay/F. Muhammad

There have also been news stories and reports of squatters that have been able to use the law to their advantage in removing homeowners from the property. Specifically, there are squatters that have taken legal action against homeowners that tried to forcefully remove them.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signed New Legislation To Increase Squatter Penalties

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed new legislation last week that would increase penalties filed against squatters. The new legislation reportedly made the crime a “second-degree felony for any person who unlawfully occupies or trespasses in a residential dwelling.”

Source: Wikimedia/Tom Williams

The legislation continued by focusing on anyone that also “intentionally causes $1,000 or more in damage.” DeSantis stated that “we are putting an end to the squatters scam in Florida.”

DeSantis: Florida Is Focused On ‘Protecting Property Owners And Punishing Criminals’

Governor Ron DeSantis made a statement on the matter even after he signed the legislation. The governor indicated that “other states are siding with the squatters.”

Source: Pixabay/MustangJoe

However, he made it clear that Florida is not on that list. DeSantis confirmed that Florida is focused on “protecting property owners and punishing criminals looking to game the system.”

County Sheriff Claims Taking Squatters To Court Is ‘A Waste Of Time And Effort’

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in Florida told Fox News that squatters “don’t have anything.” He further alleged that “what little money they have they stick up their nose or in their veins.”

Source: Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

Judd stated that it is possible to “legally sue them.” However, he warned that it is “a waste of time and effort, most of the time.”

‘Civil’ Approach To Dealing With Squatters Could Take Months, Years

Judd also referenced the approach of taking squatters to civil court, which has been suggested and recommended in some areas. He acknowledged that in Florida the “civil” approach would be to take the squatters to court.

Source: Pixabay/Arek Socha

However, Judd mentioned that “when you get into the civil court, that’s a months and a year’s long business depending on where you are in order for it to move through the civil system.” Since the squatters are also committing criminal violations, though, Judd said that they have been able to “successfully deal with them” from the angle of criminal statutes.

Former Federal Prosecutor Claims ‘Squatters Should Be Evicted Then Jailed’

West Coast Trial Lawyers President Neama Rahmani opened up about the topic in an interview with Newsweek recently. He stated that “squatters should be evicted then jailed if they break into a home and stay there.”

Source: Pixabay/Tumisu

Rahmani, who is also a former federal prosecutor, added that the “laws that protect lawful tenants shouldn’t be used to protect people that never had a legal right to be on the property in the first place.” He noted that some squatters provide a “fake lease or other fraudulent documentation.”

‘Criminal Activity Will Continue’ If There Is ‘No Legal Consequence’ For Lawbreaking

Rahmani also claimed that the burden is on the prosecutors as well. According to Rahmani, “prosecutors need to be more aggressive in charging trespassers.”

Source: Pixabay/Bruce Emmerling

Comparing the situation to shoplifting, Rahmani stated that “criminal activity will continue” if there is “no legal consequence for breaking the law because individuals aren’t charged or are given a slap on the wrist.”

Abbott Kept Public Health Disaster Declaration Enforced As Call To Lawmakers

This is not the first time that Governor Greg Abbott has taken a firm stand on a topic regardless of public opinion. He announced in January 2023 that he would keep his pandemic-era public health disaster declaration enforced until state legislators passed laws that banned COVID-19 related restrictions.

Source: Pixabay/Iqbal Nuri Anwar

He stated that he would “keep that in place until the legislators codify my executive orders that ban mask mandates, that ban forced vaccines, and things like that.” He made it clear that he wanted “to see that get passed.”

Abbott Signed Into Law A Prohibition Of Texas Abortions As Early As Six Weeks

Governor Abbott also signed into law a measure that prohibited Texas abortions as early as six weeks back in May 2021. This law was heavily criticized, especially since many women do not even know they are pregnant until after they have passed the six-week mark.

Source: Pixabay/Robster 91

Abbott stated during the bill signing ceremony that “our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion.” He added that the bill he signed would ensure “that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.”

Governor Abbott Described President Biden’s Open Border Policies As ‘Reckless’

On Governor Abbott’s website, President Joe Biden’s open border policies are described as “reckless.” The statement adds that these policies “have created an ongoing crisis” at the southern border “as record levels of illegal immigrants and deadly drugs pour into Texas.”

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

The website also highlighted the work that State of Texas was doing with communities that were impacted by the border crisis. The statement noted that their efforts would “only be effective if we work together to secure the border.”

Abbott Launched ‘Operation Lone Star’ In 2021 To Help Southern Border

Governor Abbott launched “Operation Lone Star” in 2021. The operation deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard directly to the southern border.

Source: Flickr/Tony Webster

According to Abbott’s website, the staff work around the clock to “detect and repel illegal crossings.” They also focus on arresting human smugglers and cartel gang members.

Governor Abbott Said Raising Age To Buy Assault-Style Weapon Was ‘Unconstitutional’

Governor Greg Abbott made headlines in response to the Uvalde school shooting in May of 2022. Many of the parents called for the minimum age required to buy an assault-style rifle to be raised from age 18 to 21.

Source: Pixabay/Military Material

Abbott opened up about the topic during a reelection campaign event that year. He stated that “as much as they want it” in Uvalde, that type of gun control law “has already been ruled as unconstitutional.”

Beto O’Rourke, Who Ran Against Abbott In 2022, Agreed With New Age Requirement

Beto O’Rourke, who ran against Governor Abbott in the 2022 election, may have felt differently about the same topic. A spokesperson for O’Rourke stated that Beto would have worked to raise the minimum age if he was elected.

Source: Wikimedia/Bradley Wilson

O’Rourke’s projected plan was to work alongside Democrats and Republicans to get the age requirement increases. When the election was called by Decision Desk HQ, Abbott had an 11 point lead over O’Rourke with votes still being counted.