Your home is your castle! We all want to feel protected and safe in our homes. That is why we all are aware of importance to secure our private property. People have different views on property rights. Some don’t mind if people walk on their land, while others don’t want anyone on their property. Though, people are concerned about the trespassers, either they’re aware of theft and vandalism, or they want to avoid liability if a stranger is hurt while on their property. Yeah! Don’t be surprised! You may be taken to court if somebody was accidentally hurt on your property.
So, what is trespassing and how to protect your property correctly?
Trespassing is entering another person’s property without permission of the owner or legal authority. A trespass with an illegal intent is a crime! Every entry upon another person’s land without authorization is a trespass, even if no harm is done or was done unintentionally. In other words, no one is allowed to enter the other persons’ land without their permission!
Moreover, throwing anything on the land is also a trespass.
Most people protect their homes and gardens by building a fence. Casual passerby most likely won’t climb over it. You can post signs to make people aware that your property is private. Without signs that say “No Trespassing“, “Keep Out! Private Property“, trespassing is still illegal (though it varies by state).
According to the law there are 2 types of trespass: civil and criminal.
Civil trespass is a violation of personal property rights, commonly known as just trespassing. It occurs when a person enters the land of another, places an object on the land or stays on another’s land longer than they were permitted. The owner of the property has the right to ask the unwanted person to leave, and if he/she doesn’t leave it is considered as a trespass as well.
Criminal trespass is entering or remaining on another person’s property without their consent, violence or injury to a person, damage to the property, etc.
Don’t worry! Innocent trespasser defense protects people from liability even the entry caused harm to the owner, BUT if something was done intentionally it is considered a crime!
As of a homeowner you should not consider that you can protect your property by any means! You are limited by law in what measures you can protect your land from trespassers. You may NOT:
- Shoot a trespasser
- Set traps
- Forcefully remove a trespasser from you land
- Detain a trespasser until the police arrives
If you discover a trespasser you should ask him/her to leave or call the police!
Children as trespassers!
Children are very curious and naive, they can’t assess the dangers and risks. They can’t even read sometimes! That’s why different rules are applied. Homeowners HAVE to inspect their property for potentially unsafe conditions that can attract children, i.e pools, fountains, animals, trampolines, etc. If you suspect that children may be attracted by something on your land – restrict access to it!
As trespassing laws vary from state to state you may need legal help. The best way to find an experienced land use lawyer who will be able to explain to you all your rights and obligations is to address Legal Bistro, the online legal services community, and find the right lawyer for your case!
To get much more detailed information about residential real estate, land use, trespassing check our video: