Washington homeowners gain protections against squatters

Washington homeowners will be better protected against squatters under legislation signed into law this week by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The bill removes current legal ambiguity by giving law enforcement clear authority to evict squatters and bar them from returning to a property they illegally occupied.

The measure follows high-profile examples of squatters taking over homes in Pierce County and statewide in recent years.  In many cases law-enforcement officials did not feel they had adequate legal authority to remove squatters, forcing homeowners to pursue lengthy and costly evictions.

The legislation grants law enforcement clear authority to remove squatters from private property and order them to remain off the premises.  It creates a “request to remove trespassers” form for property owners to establish that people on the property did not have permission to be on site and had refused to leave upon request.

The new law goes into effect in July.

 

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