Phil Querin Q&A: Issuing Trespass Notices To Community Visitors

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August 27, 2018
Phil Querin
Querin Law
MHCO Legal Counsel

Question:  A former resident who was a major problem while living here, voluntarily left the community and removed his home. However, he continues to visit the community and neighbors. This person has been seen on his old space (currently vacant and not in his possession) and also visiting existing tenants’ spaces. Can I trespass this person from the community? If so, what grounds do I need to trespass someone?

 

Answer:  Your question does not mention any activity by this visitor that could be considered disruptive to current residents (e.g. under the peaceful enjoyment statute, ORS 90.740(4)(j)), threatening, or a violation of any laws, rules, or ordinances.  As you know, most park rules, as well as Oregon’s landlord-tenant laws, make residents responsible for the conduct of their guests. Thus, if the guest is doing something disruptive, threatening, or illegal, your first step should be to notify the resident and ask that the visitor not engage in the bad behavior. If it continues, a 30-day notice under ORS 90.630(1)may be in order.

From time-to-time, I have seen situations where the person coming into the community has not been invited, and the resident tolerates their presence, but does not – or cannot – control their activities while there. Oftentimes, the visitor is a younger family member, and the resident is an elderly parent. 

Under these circumstances (including those in which you simply do not want to issue the resident a 30-day notice), where the activities are disruptive, threatening, or illegal, a trespass notice may be in order. However, before doing so, you should contact your local law enforcement jurisdiction for directions. This is because they may have their own rules on how they will respond and under what circumstances.  For example, they may say that the notice has to be served on the visitor, i.e. it isn’t enough to give it to the resident to give to the visitor.  They may want the notice to contain specific language, and certainly be clear enough that the officer believes they have authority to remove the visitor.

The form of the notice must be clear and unequivocal. For example[1]:

“NO TRESPASSING NOTICE

TO: ___________________________

You are not a current resident at ______________________ (the “Community”). On ______, _____, and ______, you have visited _____________________, at Space __________. In each instance you became engaged in a verbal altercation with _______ and ___________, both of whom are residents. In each instance, police were called to quiet things down, and remove you from the Community.

 

Accordingly, this is to notify you that inasmuch as you are not an approved resident in the Community, and your presence has been consistently disruptive to other residents while here, you will no longer be permitted to enter any portion of the Community under any circumstancesThis shall apply to you, your friends and family. This Notice is effective immediately. If you fail to observe this Notice, and you are discovered in the Park, Management will immediately contact the local police to request that you be removed as a trespasser

 

If you have any questions, please contact your own attorney. You are not to make contact with Management or the undersigned. PLEASE GIVE THIS NOTICE YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.”

 

Lastly, to clear, your reasons for issuing a Trespass Notice must include something more than just a general dislike of the visitor – even if he was a problem while he was a resident in the community. If he has not caused any disruption, etc., while there, I question the advisability of issuing a Trespass Notice.  

 

The only exceptions I can think of is where the visitor poses a clear and present danger to others, e.g. a sexual predator (even if charged but not convicted); someone charged with a crime of violence, even if not convicted; a visitor who has engaged in prior disruptive, dangerous, or illegal conduct while visiting the Community.

 

Of course, you should contact your own attorney, as well. 

 


[1]This is not intended to constitute legal advice as to the form of the Notice – it is just an example for illustrative purposes. Contact your own attorney first.

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