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Property Owners Scramble to Meet New Trespassing Notification Law


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By Jorge Casuso

February 12, 2024 -- Some Santa Monica property owners and managers were caught off guard after police officers stopped enforcing trespassing laws in their absence unless notarized authorization was given.

Under a State law that kicked in January 1, property owners and managers can submit the trespass letters yearly, instead of every 30 days, authorizing police to make trespassing arrests without being on the property.

However, the trespass letter forms are no longer accepted online and the original must be notarized and mailed by post or personally delivered to police headquarters.

Some property owners were confused and upset when police officers stopped enforcing the trespass laws while the new system was put in place to comply with the law.

One property manager received an update on Thursday informing her SMPD was working with the City Attorney's office to find a solution that legally complies with the law.

"The City Attorney’s office has informed us that we had to stop all trespass letter enforcement until the changes in the law are addressed and the online submission process is updated to reflect changes in the law," wrote Suzie Kim-Lockwood, the City's Crime Prevention coordinator.

On Saturday, SMPD posted an update on the City's website noting the changes made by State Senate Bill 602, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 7.

"Prior to January 1, 2024, owners of real property and their agents were required to submit the trespass letters every thirty days (occupied property) or six months (vacant property) through an online system," the update reads.

The bill increases "the period for the trespass letter from 30 days to one year" and "further requires that all trespass letters be notarized prior to submission."

The update encourages property owners and managers to "print out and complete the trespass letter form for each unique address for which you are submitting an authorization" and sign it "in the presence of a notary." (click here for form)

The original notarized form should then be mailed or personally delivered to the SMPD's Special Operations Division at 333 Olympic Drive, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

"For faster processing, the form can be scanned and emailed to," police officials said. The original must still be delivered to the Santa Monica Police Department."

Mayor Phil Brock said he recently fielded a complaint from a property owner who was told police couldn't remove homeless people from the front of his Downtown property unless he was there.

Brock said the new law will initially be an inconvenience for property owners and managers, “but once you've done it, it will be a benefit.”

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