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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 12, 2017 01:47 PM
From: Representative John Taylor
To: All House members
Subject: Public Removal of Trespassers
I plan to introduce legislation aimed at addressing illegal trespassers in residential properties, and at the same time, help the police to enforce the law.

My legislation is meant to address situations where a person requests that the police remove illegal trespassers or squatters from a residential property, but the person claims to be living there legally. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation, and it happens in both urban and rural areas. This can be a financial and legal nightmare for the property owner. When it is essentially one person's word again 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 a legal eviction action, which can be time consuming and very expensive.

My bill states that 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. They must allow 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.

This bill does not affect landlord-tenant disputes, and a property owner making a false statement can be held criminally and civilly liable. I thank you for your support of this legislation.

Introduced as HB1874