HARRISBURG – Rep. Donna Scheuren (R-Montgomery) yesterday proposed legislation, named the Homeowner Protection and Squatter Eviction Act, which would strengthen property owners’ rights and homeowner protections against squatters. Squatting is the unlawful practice of occupying or possessing a residence or other real property without the lawful owner’s consent. The Homeowner Protection and Squatter Eviction Act would allow municipal and state law enforcement officers to immediately remove a squatter from the property if the homeowner signs an affidavit stating that he or she is the lawful owner of the residence. The signee would be subject to criminal penalties for unsworn falsification if found to not be the property owner, increase the penalty for any squatter who causes $1,000 or more in property damage while unlawfully occupying a residence to a felony of the first degree, allow home and landowners to seek treble damages and attorneys’ fees via a civil action against the squatter and require law enforcement to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if the squatter is an illegal immigrant and to comply with any ICE detainer lodged against the illegal immigrant. Rep. Scheuren is currently looking for co-sponsors for this proposal.