City Council looks to revise recently passed anti-squatting bill

Pat Loeb
November 25, 2018 - 4:00 am

Dreamstime

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia City Council has been struggling with how to help homeowners whose property is taken over by squatters. Earlier this year, it passed a bill speeding the legal response to such situations, but it's already expected to revise the new law.

Councilman David Oh sponsored the anti-squatting law after homeowners told him of going away on vacation and coming home to find strangers living in their house. His bill outlined steps police and courts should take to protect the homeowners. But Councilwoman Cherelle Parker says it had unintended consequences for people who were conned into believing they had a right to be in the properties, so she proposed changes.

"To close loopholes that would allow victims of lease fraud, domestic violence, to not be considered criminals," Parker said.

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That incensed Oh, who protested during the hearing on the changes last week.

"They don't actually help innocent victims," Oh said. "It does however help criminals who are trying to keep homeowners out of their home."

The council committee disagreed, approving the changes. They're also expected to pass council.