California landlords may have an easier time securing longer-term protections against trespassing at their rental property thanks to legislation signed Saturday by Gov. Newsom.

SB 602 by Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Cerritos, will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

Sen. Bob Archuleta

Under current law (Penal Code Section 602), property owners who have problems with trespassers can submit a no trespass letter, commonly referred to as a 602 letter, to local law enforcement. These letters, once filed, remain in effect for 30 days, giving law enforcement the mandate to remove trespassers from the designated property.

The newly passed SB 602 modifies this procedure so that property owners will now be able to keep their 602 letters active for up to a year. Additionally, if a property is permanently closed and posted as such, the authorization letter will remain in effect for three years. The legislation also allows property owners to electronically submit their requests.

Members of the California Apartment Association have reported an increase in trespassing, especially on properties undergoing repairs or in retail sections of mixed-use complexes closed due to COVID-19.

CAA addressed these concerns in a communication with Sen. Archuleta.

When asked to leave, trespassers often refuse and sometimes persuade law enforcement that they are authorized occupants, which requires rental property owners to file an eviction action in order to remove them.  CAA writes in a letter to the author, “Trespassers frequently cause substantial damage with graffiti, theft, or destruction of building materials.

“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.”