Taylor Bill Targeting Squatters Passes House
HARRISBURG— Legislation sponsored by Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) to address the growing problem of illegal trespassers on residential properties and help police to enforce the law has passed the House.

“Our neighborhoods have been plagued with squatters who illegally move into residential properties but claim to live in the property legally when police arrive,” Taylor said. “This legislation is meant to address these situations.”

Under House Bill 1931, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that a person is trespassing on residential property, the officer has the authority to remove the person from the premises. The person in the dwelling must be given a reasonable opportunity to secure and present any proof they may have that they are on the property legally before removing them.

Probable cause may be based on a signed affidavit from the property owner stating, among other things, that the person is not and was not in the past a tenant, and that the owner has demanded that the person vacate the premises.

“Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation, and it happens in both urban and rural areas,” Taylor said. “This can be a financial and legal nightmare for the property owner. When it is essentially one person’s word against another’s, the police often hesitate to remove the trespasser because the property owner could be trying to illegally evict rightful tenants. Typically, in these situations, they advise the owner to pursue legal eviction action, which can be time consuming and very expensive.”

The bill does not affect landlord-tenant disputes, and a property owner making a false statement can be held criminally and civilly liable.

House Bill 1931 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Representative John Taylor
177th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
RepTaylor.com / Facebook.com/RepTaylor

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