OCOEE, Fla. - The city of Ocoee just passed a new ordinance to keep neighborhoods from becoming havens for squatters and criminals.
The ordinance requires abandoned and foreclosed properties to be put on a registry.
Residents in Ocoee’s Silver Glen neighborhood said there was loud music, parties and traffic at all hours of the night at one abandoned home.
“In and out late at night, all kind of cars, big wheel trucks, bikes,” one neighbor said.
The nightmare went on for months until residents said Ocoee police raided the place, found a meth lab and arrested two men living inside.
Just a few miles away, someone was living in a foreclosed home that no power or water.
“We don’t have a victim, somebody who’s saying they shouldn’t be there,” said Lt. Mike Bryant. “We can’t arrest those people."
But police said the new ordinance will change that. Now, banks will be forced to register empty homes with the city and provide a 24-hour emergency contact so police can identify squatters immediately.
Banks will also be required to perform monthly checkups to make sure empty homes don’t become a blight.
“They have to make sure the grass is mowed, the windows are sealed,” said Bryant.