The California Apartment Association has expressed its continued support for a bill aimed at protecting property owners from unauthorized individuals who trespass at the property.  

A little-known law found at Section 602 of the Penal Code allows property owners to submit a letter to local law enforcement, asking them to respond when called to any alleged trespasser at the property. That letter can stay on file and be referenced for up to 30 days.   

Sen. Bob Archuleta

SB 602 by Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Cerritos, would extend the validity of trespass authorization letters, also referred to as 602 letters, for 12 months. The 602 letter can also be valid for up to three years under Sen. Archuleta’s proposal if the property is closed indefinitely and posted as such. CAA members have been contending with a spike in trespassing incidents, particularly at properties closed for repair or within retail spaces of mixed-use buildings that were shuttered as a result of COVID. 

In the letter to Sen. Archuleta, CAA detailed the challenge that property owners face: “When asked to leave, trespassers often refuse and sometimes persuade law enforcement that they are authorized occupants, which owners counter as not true. They often cause substantial damage with graffiti, theft or destruction of building materials,” CAA’s letter says. “Trespass letters are helpful in these situations. By raising awareness and extending the time frame for these letters, SB 602 will greatly aid property owners.” 

Trespass authorization letters, informing law enforcement about unauthorized individuals on certain properties, have proven effective. 

By extending these letters’ validity, SB 602 will provide property owners greater protection. The bill aims to alleviate challenges property owners face with unauthorized occupancy and related damages by increasing awareness about these letters and lengthening their effective period. 

The bill is currently on the Assembly Floor and will be voted on after the Legislature’s summer recess, which began this week. Lawmakers reconvene Aug. 14.