Laughlin To Introduce Legislation To Help Property Owners Deal with Squatters

HARRISBURG – State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) today announced his plans to soon introduce legislation aimed at codifying Pennsylvania case law to establish more certainty for landlords, law enforcement and homeowners who encounter squatters.

“Squatters are a growing problem throughout our nation,” said Laughlin. “Trespassers unlawfully taking over homes is becoming an increasingly prevalent dilemma for property owners and poses a significant threat to the stability and security of our citizens and communities. Unfortunately, there is no standard approach to dealing with squatters across different states.”

For example, in New York, any occupant who has been in possession of a premises for thirty consecutive days or longer is granted tenancy rights. This means that even if a person or persons did not obtain possession legally from the owner, they would be considered tenants. Pursuing formal eviction procedures would be necessary to remove these squatters from the premises.

Under Pennsylvania law, such squatters would be considered trespassers once the landowner warns them they are not welcome and instructs them to vacate the property. Should the squatters remain in any place where they are not licensed or privileged to be, they commit the offense of defiant trespass.

Given the inconsistencies and lack of clarity in how different states address squatter concerns, Pennsylvania must establish clear and uniform guidelines for our state. The legislation to be proposed would clarify the legal status of squatters in Pennsylvania and streamline the process of removing them from residential properties.

“We must protect the rights of property owners while ensuring squatters are dealt with in a fair and timely manner,” Laughlin said.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Laughlin’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @senatorlaughlin.


Contact:           David Kozak   717-787-8927

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