Anti-squatting bill prompts debate

Capital News Service
LANSING – Squatters who move into single-family homes or duplexes could next be moving into prison cells under a proposal by a suburban Detroit legislator. Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, wants to make it a felony to occupy single-family homes worth roughly $100,000 or more or duplexes worth about $200,000 or more without permission. Such homes are generally abandoned or were seized by banks and other lenders through foreclosure. His bill would set a maximum punishment of five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. It excludes illegally occupied condominiums and apartments because landlords and condo associations can handle squatters through normal contract procedures, Heise said.