Posting adequate signage and erecting fences and other barriers can help keep trespassers from entering your private property without permission, but if the violators persist you must know how to legally remove them. Follow these steps.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Internet access
- Phone number for local authorities
Warn all trespassers that they are on private property and must leave.
Know your state's trespassing statutes and whether you, as a property owner, have the right to use reasonable force to remove a person from the premises.
Don't use unreasonable amounts of force, or you could face a lawsuit and, possibly, criminal charges.
Evict the Offender
Call the police to remove trespassers from your property. Police officers can forcibly remove intruders from your property and save you from a lawsuit.
File for a restraining order if the trespasser repeatedly appears on your property. Ask your local district attorney's office what's required for a restraining order.
Obtain support from groups like Nolo and the National Crime Prevention Council (see Resources below).
Call the Experts
Tips and warnings
- In many jurisdictions, it is not considered trespassing if an emergency has forced someone onto your property.
- If you are in an unincorporated area beyond police jurisdiction, call the sheriff's office to remove trespassers.
- Keep the number for your local police department or sheriff's office next to the phone. If you feel threatened by a trespasser, don't hesitate to call the authorities.
- Don't blow matters out of proportion. Trespassers may not know they are on private property, or may be lost or in need of help. Ask the person to explain why he or she is on your property. Overreacting (by forcibly detaining the trespasser, for instance) could result in a lawsuit.
- Don't be lulled into a sense of false security. If you are home alone when a person knocks on your door and claims to have car trouble, communicate through the door that you will call the police and a local tow service, but that you cannot allow the person to enter.