It’s no coincidence or “rare practice”— and it’s certainly not a case of “conservatives pounce.” The recent spate of incidents involving squatters is part of a concerted effort to undermine property rights. That includes the March death of a woman in New York, who was allegedly murdered and dismembered by teens who had been squatting in her late mother’s apartment.

Squatting is when people lay claim to another’s property — most often an unoccupied home — with fraudulent legal authority. States have laws against trespassing, but also laws that protect tenants. Progressives have begun misusing tenant protections to promote squatting.

They’re not even hiding it. The Democratic Socialists of America, for example, say they want to repeal laws “that criminalize squatting and other productive occupation of unused housing,” After all, as Karl Marx points out, “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.”

So, it’s not really a surprise that uber-progressive New York City has changed the rules to enhance those protections — and to extend them to squatters. In New York state, residents who have occupied a residence for 10 years can make a claim of ownership. This isn’t uncommon; states have adverse possession laws that help keep the property rolls clean.

But in New York City, according to Newsweek, “squatters cannot be easily removed from the property if they have been living in it for 30 days, as landlords must then navigate the city’s eviction laws—entering a process that can take around two years to complete. Before the process ends, owners cannot change the locks on the properties or remove squatters’ belongings.”

That has led to a slew of confrontations that haven’t gone well for the law-abiding property owners, including the murder already mentioned:

  • Adele Andaloro was arrested in March for changing the locks on her own house in Flushing, Queens. A local television station was filming as she entered the home and confronted squatters living there illegally. But when police were summoned, it was Adele who went to jail.
  • Real estate broker Ejona Bardhi Shyti found squattersin a Queen property she manages — a property she had just leased to an actual tenant. They claimed they were in the nearly million-dollar home legally, and they have now sued the broker and the owner, with a receipt from Shake Shack filed as “proof” of their legal residency.
  • When eight illegal immigrants were found squatting in a Bronx apartment last week, they were arrested — but not on charges of trespass and illegal entry. Instead, they were found with guns and drugs. Still, six were soon released — without bond.
  • And residents of the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn experienced a “reign of terror,” according to the New York Post; a crew of squatters “wreaked havoc on a Brooklyn block for months, stealing from — and threatening — neighbors before burning a house to the ground last November.”

Lawmakers are responding; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a law that allows for squatters to be evicted immediately.

“If you are the victim of squatting you can simply fill out a form, give it to your local sheriff and the sheriff is instructed to go and remove the people who are inhabiting your dwelling illegally,” DeSantis said at the signing ceremony.

Other states are considering reforms, as well. For its part, the Biden administration is calling the problem a “local issue” and that officials should “take action.” But when asked if she would support laws like the new one in Florida, a White House spokesperson declined to say.

But let’s not miss the forest for the trees here; what’s at work is a fundamental dispute over the nature of property rights. But as we know, “property rights are human rights.”