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Subject: common ground traspassing enforcement outsiders
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Author Messages
PerryP
(Texas)

Posts:1


01/29/2018 11:55 AM  
We are a HOA with a private gate, gate cards, but do not have a fully time security
guard to prevent trespassing on common ground. The Local & county sheriff says
they can not enforce trespassing on HOA common ground only on private property
owned by individuals.
Does anyone know how to legally get sheriff to enforce trespassing on HOA common ground?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2346


01/29/2018 12:28 PM  
Yes, hire private security paid for by the homeowners, or as they say, the owners in common of the common area.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15245


01/29/2018 12:46 PM  
Hire off duty sheriffs and have them patrol to keep trespassers off the common area.

Fence the common area completely.

Report the incidents as specious activity vs. trespassing. Of course, we all know the fable of crying wolf.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7005


01/29/2018 3:27 PM  
Your asking how legally to get the department in charge of law enforcement to enforce a law? If they say they can't enforce a law, that means they can't charge someone with trespassing. Doesn't say that they can't charge someone with vandalism, breaking and entering, or other offenses if done. Usually trespassing and vandalism go hand in hand but not always. Nothing wrong with someone walking across common area to get to a neighbor's house is it? There is something wrong if they spray paint the ground along the way.

Look at what your asking the police to do. They can only create charges not dismiss them. So it is up to a HOA board member/officer to go to the court to enforce any charges on the violator or dismiss. Remember the HOA is a group not an individual. The common property is owned by a group. So that is what the police is trying to convey to you.

Former HOA President
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:358


01/29/2018 9:02 PM  
Posted By PerryP on 01/29/2018 11:55 AM
We are a HOA with a private gate, gate cards, but do not have a fully time security
guard to prevent trespassing on common ground. The Local & county sheriff says
they can not enforce trespassing on HOA common ground only on private property
owned by individuals.
Does anyone know how to legally get sheriff to enforce trespassing on HOA common ground?



If you don't hire a security company any BOD or the community manager can trespass someone. Here in Nevada there is a Trespass warning that is recited to
the offender similar to Miranda warning. ""As a duly authorized agent for this property I herby declare you are trespassing on private property, if you fail to leave
or upon your subsequent return you will be arrested for criminal trespassing"". A picture is taken of the offender and a trespass card is filled out.
We just had to do on on a guy that kept knocking on peoples doors begging for $80.00.
In this case he was officially trespassed and then returned again, this time he was arrested for criminal trespassing.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:582


01/30/2018 12:12 PM  
The police can enforce it, but it has to be signed with the proper signage stating that it is private property. Because IT IS private property.
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:247


02/03/2018 6:13 AM  
Posted By PerryP on 01/29/2018 11:55 AM
The Local & county sheriff says
they can not enforce trespassing on HOA common ground only on private property
owned by individuals.





Posted By DouglasM6 on 01/30/2018 12:12 PM
The police can enforce it, but it has to be signed with the proper signage stating that it is private property. Because IT IS private property.




Yup. With proper signage you can have any problem people "tresspassed".
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


02/03/2018 5:50 PM  
Posted By MarkM31 on 02/03/2018 6:13 AM
Posted By PerryP on 01/29/2018 11:55 AM
The Local & county sheriff says
they can not enforce trespassing on HOA common ground only on private property
owned by individuals.





Posted By DouglasM6 on 01/30/2018 12:12 PM
The police can enforce it, but it has to be signed with the proper signage stating that it is private property. Because IT IS private property.




Yup. With proper signage you can have any problem people "tresspassed".



Y'all realize that the law is different in every state?

I'm not sure why the sheriff's office said they can't enforce it. It seems it would be no different than any other private property owned by a corporation, but it is possible there is a legal precedent or maybe the district attorney will not prosecute such cases for some reason.

It is true that in Texas there must be a prohibition to be on the property before it is a trespassing, such as a sign, but I think the sheriff's office would have mentioned that.

If you just spoke to line deputies I would go to the department and ask to speak to a supervisor. If they cannot enforce trespassing for HOAs they should at least be able to explain why. You might also go to the DA's office or the Justice of the Peace. JOPs cover smaller areas and are often very open to talking to citizens. My JOP advertises an open door policy.

JasonB13
(Florida)

Posts:37


02/04/2018 11:52 AM  
The sheriff is a hack. Trespassing pertains to private property. An Association is a corporation; you can be charged with trespassing for being in an office building without authorization; you can be charged with trespassing for being in a business when it's closed. Condo grounds are private property. It doesn't matter if its owned by an individual or a corporation. If a corporation owns a condo, you can't be charged with trespassing?

The Sheriff is either lying or doesnt understand the law.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1822


02/04/2018 8:22 PM  
Posted By JasonB13 on 02/04/2018 11:52 AM
The Sheriff is either lying or doesnt understand the law.

Could be. Where I am the county animal control refuses to investigate or take action on reports by homeowners of clear violations of the animal control ordinance. "We've got more important things to worry about," is something more than one homeowner here has heard.

The epithet "Flori-duh" is deserved in some respects and things like this are why it persists.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3767


02/04/2018 10:14 PM  
Hi Perry ... Welcome to the Forum

Hmmm ... LOL ... Since when is HOA Common Area Property considered “Public Property”? It is property owned by an entity ... a.k.a. The HOA!!! It is no different than say a business owned by numerous partners. I would contend your law enforcement is LAZY!!!
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


02/06/2018 10:02 AM  
A possibility I didn't think of earlier goes back to my days as a cop in Virginia. There was a particular area of the county with a bad drug problem and they started issuing trespassing notices to any non-residents found in this apartment complex unless they could provide a good reason for being there. Cops had a list of the people who had been given notice and charged them with trespassing. It seemed like a good plan until judges started throwing out cases because it was impossible to prove that the defendants were not visiting someone in the complex and, under the 5th Amendment, the police cannot require someone to prove they have a reason to be there.

It is possible that the situation the OP has is similar. If the owners can allow visitors to come threw the gates into the common areas then how could you enforce trespassing laws? To prosecute you would have to prove that no owner gave them permission to be there. The only way to do that in criminal court is have every owner testify in court. Remember, defendants in criminal cases have the absolute right to stay silent and do not have to prove anything.

It would be different if the common area was off limits to guests. For example, our park and pool is posted that guests are not allowed without the member being present.

You can say the sheriff is lazy, not doing his job, or whatever, but there could be many factors involved in the decision besides the written law.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2084


02/06/2018 1:57 PM  
Great response Ben. I think this community needs to come together and discuss exactly what's going on in their community and work together to reduce problems. For instance, what problems are the "tresspassers" creating - parking in no parking zones, noise, burglary, etc? Who are these people visiting - maybe you have a few neighbors who are causing a lot of the problems. Perhaps the tresspassers are trying to break in the community clubhouse or pool and there needs to be a better security system. And why won't this community hire their own security force if they want more enforcement? If money's a factor, I suspect that's a big part of the reason the police can't spend all their time going after people in a private community. Maybe the private gate system should be reconsidered - why spend the money maintaining the thing if people are going to let in whoever anyway?
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:582


02/06/2018 3:40 PM  
Even with signage, you have to tell them to leave and when they don't, you've been trespassed against. The laws help the trespassers, in my opinion.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7191


02/06/2018 3:56 PM  
Were I the Sheriff, I would say let them "private property owners" figure it out. I would have nothing to do with it as it opens a Pandora's Box.

MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:247


02/06/2018 7:27 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/06/2018 3:56 PM
Were I the Sheriff, I would say let them "private property owners" figure it out. I would have nothing to do with it as it opens a Pandora's Box.




So the police should not enforce laws on private property? If you had a bunch of louts camp out on your front lawn and drink beer, the police shouldn't be able to respond? They are after all only tresspassing on private property, something out of police purview in JohnC46 land.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


02/06/2018 8:27 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/06/2018 3:56 PM
Were I the Sheriff, I would say let them "private property owners" figure it out. I would have nothing to do with it as it opens a Pandora's Box.




You would probably be a one term sheriff.
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:247


02/06/2018 8:33 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 02/06/2018 8:27 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/06/2018 3:56 PM
Were I the Sheriff, I would say let them "private property owners" figure it out. I would have nothing to do with it as it opens a Pandora's Box.




You would probably be a one term sheriff.




Or removed before that first term was up
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


02/06/2018 8:37 PM  
Posted By DouglasM6 on 02/06/2018 3:40 PM
Even with signage, you have to tell them to leave and when they don't, you've been trespassed against. The laws help the trespassers, in my opinion.



Every state has different laws but in Texas, and other states I know of, only one form of notice is needed for the offense of trespassing and there is no requirement to tell them to leave.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3767


02/07/2018 10:23 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 02/06/2018 10:02 AM
A possibility I didn't think of earlier goes back to my days as a cop in Virginia. There was a particular area of the county with a bad drug problem and they started issuing trespassing notices to any non-residents found in this apartment complex unless they could provide a good reason for being there. Cops had a list of the people who had been given notice and charged them with trespassing. It seemed like a good plan until judges started throwing out cases because it was impossible to prove that the defendants were not visiting someone in the complex and, under the 5th Amendment, the police cannot require someone to prove they have a reason to be there.

It is possible that the situation the OP has is similar. If the owners can allow visitors to come threw the gates into the common areas then how could you enforce trespassing laws? To prosecute you would have to prove that no owner gave them permission to be there. The only way to do that in criminal court is have every owner testify in court. Remember, defendants in criminal cases have the absolute right to stay silent and do not have to prove anything.

It would be different if the common area was off limits to guests. For example, our park and pool is posted that guests are not allowed without the member being present.

You can say the sheriff is lazy, not doing his job, or whatever, but there could be many factors involved in the decision besides the written law.



Hmmm ... With a husband who also was a Sheriff Deputy in past ... that could be a potential scenario. However, those who finally are looking here generally have tried many other options up to and including many times telling violators to leave. The OP “specifically stated” that the Local Law Authorities are stating they cannot help with regards to any HOA Property. Does that not smell foul for you as a prior “cop”?
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:180


02/08/2018 4:06 AM  
It does smell a little foul but I'm sure we don't have all the information. If there is a valid reason for not enforcing the law, the OP deserves to know what that is. That's why I recommended the OP speak to a supervisor, D.A. or J.O.P.

It may very well be that the deputies were being lazy (they do exist) but, without more facts, I would give them the benefit of the doubt.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:358


02/08/2018 9:03 AM  
Posted By BenA2 on 02/08/2018 4:06 AM
It does smell a little foul but I'm sure we don't have all the information. If there is a valid reason for not enforcing the law, the OP deserves to know what that is. That's why I recommended the OP speak to a supervisor, D.A. or J.O.P.

It may very well be that the deputies were being lazy (they do exist) but, without more facts, I would give them the benefit of the doubt.




They are just not interested in enforcing the law.
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