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4/5/2018 - Mayor Kelly Yaede: Hamilton Township Will Not Tolerate Squatters and Unlawful Occupants

Mayor Kelly Yaede: Hamilton Township Will Not Tolerate Squatters and Unlawful Occupants   

The rise in unoccupied properties stemming from the collapse of the housing market provided opportunities for criminals and squatters who sought new ways to profit through illegal activities. 

But when it comes to squatters and illegal activities, Hamilton Township has no tolerance.

When Reed Avenue neighborhood residents identified and reported unlawful occupants and existing violations to the office of Mayor Kelly Yaede – Hamilton’s Mayor, along with the Hamilton Police Division and other Hamilton departments took decisive action. 

Not only did Mayor Yaede focus officials’ sights upon the property to address potential issues and possible illegal activities, but Hamilton’s Mayor began to take steps to address the ease of squatters gaining access to abandoned properties.

While the issue of addressing squatting can be cumbersome and time consuming due to State law, privacy rights and other legal considerations, Mayor Yaede, the Hamilton Police Division, various Township departments and County officials - like the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office - were not deterred in vigorously addressing the Reed Avenue case.

“Our entire government – from myself to our Police Division and to various departments -- was very aggressive when it came to addressing issues at this property.  I personally drove by this property on multiple occasions to view the circumstances that neighborhood residents were reporting.  In every instances of a violation, Hamilton Township worked to take decisive action, which culminated in this recent arrest,” says Mayor Yaede.

When it comes to issues of squatting in general, criminals could often get the power turned on in an abandoned property with ease – like using phony leases.

“In some cases, what we found were that unlawful occupants could easily get a utility to restore electricity or gas to a property they did not own.  So as a result, we have provided a list of known abandoned properties to Public Service Gas & Electric to see if the utility can help us prevent power restoration to abandoned properties,” explains Mayor Yaede.

Sometimes criminals would rent out properties that they did not rightfully own to unsuspecting lessees – who are happy to cooperate with law enforcement when they have been duped.  In other cases, the unlawful occupants simply were in search of a place from which they could conduct illegal activities.  

Mayor Yaede also reached out to the County Prosecutor’s Office in an attempt for regional cooperative efforts, as instances of squatting occur across the county, state and nation. 

“The Reed Avenue case is an example of how an individual can use a property for illegal activity; and it should send a clear message to any criminal out there.  We are not going to tolerate illegal activity in Hamilton Township.  Our Township officials, law enforcement and our law abiding residents are closely watching.  Through our Neighborhood Improvement Program, our Abandoned Property Registry and other anti-squatter efforts, we have tools to helps us catch criminals – and we are willing to use these tools,” says Mayor Yaede.

CLICK HERE FOR POLICE DIVISION RELEASE ON ARREST