A woman in New York was killed by alleged squatters this week. She was preparing a city apartment (Manhattan) for rent that was left to her by her deceased mother when she came upon unsuspecting squatters who were living there. Nadia Vitels, 52 was beaten to death and left in a bag.

Vitels was killed after she traveled to New York City from Spain to get the apartment ready to be occupied a family friend. It had been vacant for months after the death of her mother. -cbsnews.com

Squatter Killing Angers, Reminds MA Residents Of Law

A squatter in Massachusetts can be any person who occupies a vacant/abandoned property without the property owner's consent. Any person who isn't renting the owner's property is, therefore, considered a "squatter."  -doorloop.com

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Getty Images

Police sources said they've identified two squatters they believe beat her to death. These sources said they were not known to Vitels, but may have been squatting in the apartment before she started moving either herself, or someone else, in.

A situation like this can obviously be infuriating. Not only is this a brutal killing, but by people assuming residency in a property that's not theirs.

A polarizing topic where conservative people can find Massachusetts and New York's laws protecting squatters quite liberal.

Squatters may be considered legal after 30 days in a property.

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Getty Images

With homelessness increasing in the U.S., what's the harm to squatters occupying a vacant residence to survive the elements? These people are human after all. This is something that we as a society do not agree on.

Massachusetts Squatter Protection Laws

Trespassing and squatting are considered different in the eyes of the law. Trespassing is seen as criminal whereas squatting is considered civil. After 30 days in a property, squatters have a legal case, but they can absolutely be evicted.

Even though squatting is common in Massachusetts, there are some ways to avoid it. If you want to protect your property (and yourself) from squatters, follow these tips:

  • Pay your property taxes when they're due.
  • Make regular property inspections.
  • Secure all your property, including doors, windows, and any other areas.
  • Consider putting up "No-Trespassing" signs.

Now, if you already have a squatter, consider the following:

  • Send them a notice to leave as soon as possible.
  • Offer them a renting option.
  • If the squatter doesn't leave, hire a lawyer and call your local sheriff for help.


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