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Evicted NYC Squatters Sue Homeowners: ‘Absolutely Absurd’

Holland McKinnie
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In a disturbing turn of events that underscores the growing concerns over property rights in New York City, a Queens couple finds themselves embroiled in a legal battle against alleged squatters who unlawfully took over their $930,000 duplex. The series of events has put national attention on the Big Apple’s lenient squatter laws that provide various legal protections for wrongful squatters after only 30 days of occupancy.

Juliya Fulman and her husband, Denis Kurlyand, have spent over $530,000 renovating their investment property on Lakeside Avenue, Jamaica, only to have it commandeered by individuals identified as Lance Hunt Sr. and Rondie L. Francis. These individuals have refused to leave and then filed a lawsuit against the couple, their real estate broker, and the brokerage firm, claiming rights to the property. The homeowners are facing mounting legal expenses — now exceeding $4,000 — as they fight to defend their hard-earned property. 

“It’s absolutely absurd,” Juliya Fulman told reporters. 


The squatters’ alleged takeover began when the couple’s broker discovered the property’s locks had been changed unauthorizedly. Upon investigation, the broker was intimidated by several men emerging from the property. This encounter escalated to the point that police had to be called to the scene. However, upon arrival, officers informed the owners that eviction could lead to their arrest, a stark illustration of the legal hurdles faced by property owners in the city.

Despite providing evidence of ownership and securing a court-ordered eviction, the squatters have leveraged the legal system to prolong their occupancy, showcasing the potential for exploitation of New York’s housing laws. Their claims, bolstered by purportedly forged documents and fraudulent leases, have been met with skepticism by the court. Yet, the legal battle continues, with the next hearing scheduled for April 5.

The situation has ignited a fierce debate over New York City’s housing and property laws, with critics arguing that the current framework emboldens squatters and undermines the security of homeownership. Denis Kurlyand summed up his frustrations, saying, “It could take years to evict someone who illegally broke into your house? Where’s the law in that?”

The sanctity of property rights and the fundamental principle of property ownership must be respected and protected by law for a free society to operate peacefully. Fulman and Kurly’s current squatting ordeal calls for reevaluating laws that empower bad-faith actors to the detriment of lawful homeowners in the name of protecting tenants.


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