By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some Philadelphia City Council members want to crack down on “squatters,” people who illegally move into a property they have no claim to.

Council will hold hearings on the matter and consider a bill that would establish procedures and penalties to deal with them.

Councilman David Oh says his office was contacted by a pastor who found a woman squatting his church’s parsonage and, after weeks of effort, could not get rid of her.

“This is clearly a trespasser who is occupying a residence and refusing to leave,” Oh said.

Oh says there was so much confusion between the police and district attorney about what they could do, it took several more weeks, with Oh’s intervention, to resolve. And it’s not an isolated case.

Councilman Al Taubenberger says he’s been called into similar situations, in which property owners had to pay squatters to leave. He called for hearings on the extent of the problem and how to prevent it.

Oh’s bill would define squatters, lay out steps for police, and provide a $300-a-day penalty for those who refuse to leave.

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