House unanimously passes bill protecting property owners from squatters

The state House unanimously passed Senate Bill 5388 that would protect property owners from squatters. In order to promote simultaneous consideration of the measure, Rep. Andrew Barkis also introduced companion House Bill 1305.

“Which bill passes isn't as important as seeing the policy put into place,” said Barkis, R-Olympia. “Squatters have become a huge issue in our neighborhoods and communities. Landlords and property owners have had only one course of action through the civil eviction process to remove squatters. This action wasn't enough to get unauthorized people to leave private property. Now, through this legislation, landlords and property owners can take criminal action by enlisting the assistance of local law enforcement.”

The legislation would give law enforcement the proper authority to remove squatters from private property and direct them to stay off the premises. It would also create a 'request to remove trespassers' form that property owners could use to prove squatters don't have permission to be on the property and refused to leave upon request.

“This is a very important piece of legislation that has been in the works for the last few years,” continued Barkis. “I was glad to be part of a collaborative team, with Sen. Hans Zeiger and Rep. Steve Kirby, who worked diligently to ensure this bill made it across the finish line.”

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 23.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov