Squatters that were living in an unsafe home have officially been evicted by Rome Mayor Jeffrey Lanigan.

Condemned Problem Property

Mayor Lanigan is making sure squatters stay out of the residence located on 415 West Thomas Street. The city-owned building, of which Zillow says was constructed in 1880,  is condemned as it was deemed unsafe and unfit for living.

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Additionally, neighbors repeatedly complained to the city regarding the problematic home and its illegal inhabitants. Complaints allege different people were seen exiting and entering the building each day.

According to the mayor, who was on scene for the eviction on Friday, the squatters were told numerous times that the home wasn't safe, but seemingly ignored the warnings. That is why the issue was elevated with the mayor taking extra measures to keep people out of the residence.

After the squatters were removed from the house, workers boarded up the windows with plywood and National Grid cut power to the building. In addition to the mayor being on scene for the eviction, he was joined by Rome Police, Rome Public Works, Rome Codes Enforcement Office, the water shop, and other city employees.

That building isn't the only unsafe, abandoned home that is dealing with squatters. Another city-owned home at 411 W. Thomas Street will also have its power shut off and windows boarded up once the illegal inhabitants there are removed.

According to Zillow, that particular home was constructed in 1915.

Not Thrown in the Cold

Mayor Lanigan made it clear the squatters, who may be homeless, were not thrown out in the cold. He coordinated efforts with Social Services to ensure those who had nowhere to go were provided accommodations.

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It is unclear how many of the squatters took the city up on its offer.

It also wasn't revealed in the Rome Sentinel report what plans the city has for the unsafe buildings, such as whether they will be razed to make room for new constructions, or if they will be allowed to stand.

Rome has been cracking down on illegal squatters and enacting measures to prevent people from getting inside abandoned homes. Recently, Rome Police arrested seven adults, two men and five women, who were living in a condemned house on West Fox Street.

According to authorities, the city has seen an upward trend of people illegally squatting in condemned houses. Prevention measures include putting placards on unsafe buildings and charging people who were found inside of the buildings.

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Those who suspect squatters living in nearby condemned houses are urged to call Rome Police and Rome Code Enforcement.

The reason why authorities are taking this seriously is because squatters are living in risky conditions and could get hurt. In December, an abandoned and boarded up property on West Bloomfield Street went up in flames. Firefighters said the blaze was likely caused by squatters, who were likely trying to stay warm.

Squatters Rights

New York State has guaranteed limited rights for those illegally living in another person's residence. Protections include homeowners being banned from shutting off utilities, as it's considered an illegal eviction, and locks cannot be changed without a court or sheriff's office signing off on it.

Lastly, squatters must be given legal notice at least 10 days in advance before owners attempt to remove their unwanted tenant.

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