Charlotte County woman fighting to evict unwanted squatters from home


PUNTA GORDA, Fla. Be careful who you bring into your home.

That’s what Lucila Gale realized when an invitation by her son to a random woman turned her house at 2624 Lee Street into a home for six strangers.

“They (authorities) tell me, ‘We cannot evict them because you’re violating their rights,'” she said. “And I say, ‘Well I own the house, what about my rights?'”

Gale cut off the water and power, but the squatters refused to leave.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said.  “I cannot believe… I’m in shock. I’m in shock.”

The key to saving homeowners from these kinds of incidents is to have everything documented, said Matthew P. Flores, a Naples-based real estate lawyer.

“Number one: Have it in writing, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “You want to have all the rights and obligations of the party in a well-thought out lease agreement, preferably drafted by an attorney.”

Gale initially began the eviction process with a family lawyer, but hired another attorney after hitting a roadblock.

“I’m fighting for me and my neighbors,” she said. “I’ll say this. Don’t invite anybody that you don’t want to them to take over your house.”

It’s more difficult to get rid of unwanted guests or squatters once they start receiving mail, experts said.

When documenting the agreed rental fee, make sure to include the due date, as it will help your legal standing if you want them to leave.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.