Kelly Yaede: Hamilton Township Will Not Tolerate Squatters and Unlawful
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
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
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
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
“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