FAIRFIELD — A state assemblyman, whose legislation to ease enforcement of criminal trespassing laws against property squatters spurred Suisun City’s request to be included in the law’s pilot program, says “people taking advantage of middle class America” led to his legislative bill.
Fairfield may also ask to be added to the program.
Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, said middle-class Americans in the 36th District he represents in Southern California bought second homes and discovered property squatters residing in them when trying to sell the houses.
Eviction can involve two to three months at a courthouse 100 miles from the property owner’s home, Fox said.
His bill now applies to Palmdale and nearby Lancaster in Los Angeles County and the city of Ukiah in Mendocino County, according to a Fairfield staff report.
Fox said the number of other cities asking to be included in the pilot program means a way will have to be found to add the municipalities.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries,” he said.
Fairfield City Council members take up a resolution Tuesday to request that Fox add the city.
If Fairfield is added to Fox’s legislation, an alternative eviction method would be available for absent owners of some residential properties if the property owners register their property with the Fairfield Police Department.
The legislation would require owners to register vacant property no later than three days after the site is vacant. People found on the property must produce written authorization to be present at the site.
If they cannot, law enforcement must advise people they have 48 hours to obtain authorization. If still present after 48 hours, the property owner can file a temporary restraining order against the person.
Fox’s measure would become effective Jan. 1, 2015, if signed into law.
The state assemblyman said he donates funds at his church to feed the homeless. He added that everybody deserves protection under the law – including middle-class homeowners.
Fairfield council members meet at 6 p.m. in the council chamber at the Civic Center, 1000 Webster St.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.