BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1513
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 14, 2014

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                      AB 1513 (Fox) - As Amended:  May 6, 2014 

          Policy Committee:                              JudiciaryVote:9-1

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              Yes

           SUMMARY  

          This bill, until January 1, 2018, establishes a pilot program in  
          the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale to facilitate enforcement  
          of criminal trespassing laws. Specifically, this bill:

             1)   Authorizes the owner of vacant real property, or his  
               agent, to register vacant property with the local police  
               agency using a specified form, signed under penalty of  
               perjury and declaring that the property is vacant and not  
               authorized to be  occupied by any person.

             2)   Requires the registration to include contact information  
               for the owner and a statement that either the police agency  
               or a licensed private security services company has been  
               retained to comply with specified inspection and reporting  
               provisions.

             3)   Requires the property to be inspected per (2) not less  
               than once every three days, and that the police agency be  
               notified immediately if any unauthorized person is found on  
               the property.

             4)   Provides that the local city council or board of  
               supervisors shall establish fees for registering a vacant  
               property with the local police agency and for the conduct  
               of inspections by the police agency pursuant to this bill.

             5)   Specifies the actions the police agency is to take upon  
               receiving notification per (3), including notifying the  
               person found on the property that they are subject to  
               arrest after 48 hours if the person does not receive  
               authorization from the owner to be on the property.








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             6)   Provides that any person found on vacant property not  
               less than forty-eight hours after receiving the above  
               warning notification is guilty of trespass and, upon  
               conviction, is subject to imprisonment in a county jail not  
               exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand  
               dollars ($1,000), or both.

             7)   Stipulates that the above pilot program only applies to  
               residences of one to four units in the two cities.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)The costs for the two cities in the pilot program to process  
            registrations and to conduct inspections, when so requested by  
            a property owner, should be covered by the fees authorized in  
            the bill. To establish the program and the registration  
            system, each city might incur some start-up costs, which would  
            be state reimbursable but should be minor.

          2)Both cities will incur non-reimbursable costs for enforcement,  
            offset to some extent by fine revenues. 

           COMMENTS  

              1)   Purpose  . According to the author, "Unlawful Detainer  
               laws are not specifically designed to provide law  
               enforcement officials the tools they need to assist owners  
               of residential real property in their efforts to remove, or  
               prevent occupancy by squatters on vacant properties. It is  
               clear that under California law it can take a minimum of  
               30-60 days to evict a sophisticated squatter."

            The bill outlines a pilot project in Lancaster and Palmdale to  
            allow property owners to declare property to be vacant,  
            register it with local law enforcement, and gain greater  
            certainty that any subsequent trespasser upon the property  
            will be subject to arrest for trespassing, so long as regular  
            inspection of the property at three day intervals has  
            confirmed it to be vacant since the date of registration.

            The program is intended to provide a means to deter squatting  
            at an early stage and to provide a second chance for squatters  
            to vacate the premises in lieu of arrest, and is not intended  
            to be an abridgment of other statutes relating to trespass or  








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            civil eviction proceedings.  It is believed that the threat of  
            arrest for trespassing on a property registered under this  
            program (and so noticed on the property itself) will serve as  
            a deterrent to those persons who the author and sponsor  
            believe to be sophisticated squatters targeting vacant  
            properties.

            The bill is sponsored by the California Association of  
            Realtors and supported by the California Police Chiefs  
            Association.

              2)   Opposition  . The bill is opposed by a number of tenant  
               advocate groups, who contend that the bill compromises  
               established due process protections for persons occupying  
               property who may be trespassers but who just as easily may  
               be legitimately entitled to possession of the premises.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081