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Big Island councilman asks for input on squatter problem

HILO >> In response to complaints about squatters, a Hawaii County Councilman is seeking public comment in an effort to find a solution.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Councilman Greggor Ilagan has formed a task force to find ways to handle squatters living in vacant, bank-owned homes in Puna. While local legislation is likely, Ilagan is not yet drafting a bill.

Ilagan says one of the biggest hurdles is establishing ownership of some of the vacant homes. He says at one property, authorities were unable to evict squatters for months because they could not get in contact with the bank. Without a complaint from the owner police can’t act.

Police Lt. Reed Mahuna of the Puna Patrol Division says squatters are not easy to evict because there are so few formal complaints.

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