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  • Writer's pictureDavid Dipietro

The Demise of Property Rights in New York

An Op-ed from the desk of Assemblyman David DiPietro (R,C-East Aurora)

In New York, the very notion of property rights is under siege, eroded by a brand of progressivism emanating from Albany that borders on absurdity. The recent surge in squatter-related incidents is not just an isolated problem but a symptom of a broader societal erosion of individual property rights, casting a shadow over the sanctity of homeownership.


Consider the case of Adele Andaloro, a homeowner in Flushing, Queens, who found herself handcuffed merely for attempting to safeguard her million-dollar inheritance. Armed with her property deed, she sought to repel alleged squatters from her own abode, only to be met with legal repercussions. Changing locks to protect her property resulted in her arrest for illegal eviction as if protecting one’s own home is now a criminal act.


Such absurdities are not isolated incidents but rather symptomatic of a systemic failure to uphold property rights in New York. The case of Nadia Vitel, brutally murdered by squatters in her own late mother’s apartment, underscores the dire consequences of this failure. As Vitel prepared the property for a family friend, she unwittingly stumbled upon intruders who not only usurped her space but also her life. The tragedy is not just the loss of an innocent life but the perversion of justice that allows such atrocities to occur.


Even retirees seeking solace in their own homes are not spared from the menace of squatting. A New York couple’s dream of moving into their $2 million home in Little Neck was shattered by a squatter who refused to vacate. The couple, intending the home for retirement and to care for their son with Down syndrome, found Brett Flores occupying it. Flores claimed to be a caretaker hired by the previous owner and refused to leave. Despite their best efforts, including legal recourse and police intervention, they were powerless against complicated eviction laws that favored the trespasser over the rightful owners.


This is not just a legal quagmire but a moral outrage, a betrayal of the very principles upon which our society is founded. The notion that squatters can lay claim to property simply by virtue of occupancy, regardless of legality or ownership, is a slap in the face to hardworking homeowners who have invested their blood, sweat and tears into their homes.


It’s time for Albany to wake up from its progressive daydream and recognize the fundamental importance of property rights in a free society. The current state of affairs, where squatters are emboldened and law-abiding citizens are shackled, is untenable. We cannot allow the erosion of property rights to continue unchecked, lest we descend further into a dystopian nightmare where communalism trumps individual liberty.




Assemblyman David DiPietro represents the 147th Assembly District, which includes parts of Erie and Wyoming counties.


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