Removing Squatters rights to occupy a property as a tenant.
AN ACT Relating to rights to occupy a property as a tenant; and amending RCW 9A.52.105.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 9A.52.105 and 2017 c 284 s 1 are each amended to read
(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) of this section and upon the receipt of a declaration
signed under penalty of perjury, in the form prescribed in RCW 9A.52.115, declaring the truth of
all of the applicable and required elements set forth in subsection (4) of this section, a peace
officer shall have the authority to:
(a) Remove the person or persons from the premises, with or without arresting the person
or persons; and
(b) Order the person or persons to remain off the premises or be subject to arrest for
(2) Only a peace officer having probable cause to believe that a person is guilty of criminal
trespass under RCW 9A.52.070 for knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a building
considered residential real property, as defined in RCW 61.24.005, has the authority and
discretion to make an arrest or exclude anyone under penalty of criminal trespass.
(3) While a peace officer can take into account a declaration from the property owner signed
under penalty of perjury containing all of the required elements and in the form prescribed in
RCW 9A.52.115, the peace officer must provide the occupant or occupants with a
reasonable opportunity to secure and present any credible evidence provided by the person
or persons on the premises, which the peace officer must consider, showing that the person
or persons are tenants, legal occupants, or the guests or invitees of tenants or legal
(4) The declaration must include the following elements when applicable:
(a) That the declarant is the owner of the premises or the authorized agent of the owner of the
premises;Code Rev/AI:eab 2 I-3868.1/20
(b) That an unauthorized person or persons have entered or are remaining unlawfully on the
(c) That the person or persons were not authorized to enter or remain;
(d) That the person or persons are not a tenant or tenants and have not been a tenant or
tenants in the past 12 months per a legal lease agreement with the previous owner. (e) That
the declarant has demanded that the unauthorized person or persons vacate the premises
but they have not done so;
(f) That the premises were not abandoned at the time the unauthorized person or persons
entered; abandonment of the property would not constitute as a priority or need to be proved if
the property was conveyed through a foreclosure.
(g) That the premises were not open to members of the public at the time the unauthorized
person or persons entered;
(h) That the declarant understands that a person or persons removed from the premises
pursuant to this section may bring a cause of action under RCW 4.24.355 against the declarant
for any false statements made in the declaration, and that as a result of such action the
declarant may be held liable for actual damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees; (i) That
the declarant understands and acknowledges the prohibitions in RCW 59.18.230 and 59.18.290
against taking or detaining a tenant's personal property or removing or excluding a tenant from
a dwelling unit or rental premises without an authorizing court order; ((and)) (j) That the
declarant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless law enforcement for its actions or omissions
made in good faith pursuant to the declaration; and
(k) That the person or persons are previous homeowners remaining at the property being
conveyed through auction. If a previous owner has been foreclosed on and the property is
conveyed through auction, the previous owner has twenty days to vacate the premises. If the
owner stays past the twenty days without the new owner's consent, the conveyed property
owner has the right to fill out the proper paperwork with the county and have the persons
removed from the premises immediately with a law enforcement officer's presence in a peaceful
(l) If a person or persons is defined as squatting on the property and does not meet any of
the criteria in section (4)(d). The owner can expedite the removal process by using RCW
the person or persons are considered squatters, the squatters will not be constituted as tenants
and will not have a right of possession or any tenant rights to the property, per Code Rev/AI:eab
3 I-3868.1/20(5). Neither the peace officer nor his or her law enforcement agency shall be held
liable for actions or omissions made in good faith under this section.
(5) If a tenant is present they will need to provide a legal lease agreement that such tenancy
has occurred with the previous owner.
A)Tenancy agreement will need to have permission from the previous homeowner on record for
the last 12 months or a representative of the previous homeowner.
B)The tenant and owner will be given 14 days from the date of notice to produce any
(6) This section may not be construed to in any way limit rights under RCW 61.24.060 or to
allow a peace officer to remove or exclude an occupant who is entitled to occupy a dwelling unit
under a rental agreement or the occupant's guests or invitees.