'No Trespassing' & 'Right to Exclude' SignsI believe that private property ownership is the cornerstone of our freedom. As a rural landowner, I have the No Trespassing and Right to Exclude signs from the National Association of Rural Landowners installed on my property. These signs are legally intimidating to all classes of intruders and are made of heavy duty aluminium.
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BLOG: The Right to Exclude
Intruders come with varying intentions, and one does not need to be cloaked in the dark of the night to be considered a defiant trespasser. Sadly, instead of defending your rights as property owners, many local government agencies have adopted practices and ordinances that suggest their unrestricted access onto private property.
For instance, Ordinance 4-219 (in my own rural township) states that the Board of Supervisors or their township representatives have the self-proclaimed right to enter any property for the purpose of “ascertaining the existence of violations”. Government does not have the right to enter private property for the purpose of search or seizure without a Constitutional warrant. That is the check and balance for upholding the 4th Amendment to our Bill of Rights.
However, courts have ruled that (unless revoked) there is “implied access” onto private property. This access is extended to members of the public and government. This permits persons to approach your home by the front path and knock promptly on your front door. In such instance, a visitor may wait briefly to be received, and then (absent an invitation to stay longer), must leave.
In the opinion of several court rulings, the deterrent to this access is for a property owner to revoke with clarity the “implied license” to enter the property. As the courts declare, the implied access to private property can be revoked by a property owner through clear and conspicuous signage. It has been the opinion of the courts that standard no trespassing signs are not adequate in this defense.
As recently as 2016, the courts have ruled that the government’s implied license to enter private property “is not untrammeled”, and “if a homeowner revokes the license with sufficient clarity”, the agency “can no longer avail themselves of the implicit license.” [See United States v. Carloss, 818 F.3d 988, 997 (10th Cir. 2016)]. In Oliver v. United States, 466 U. S. 170, the court ruled that the areas “immediately surrounding and associated with the home”—the curtilage—is “part of the home itself for 4th Amendment purposes”.