C.F. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a small condo complex. We have a nice park like setting. Unfortunately, that brings in non-residents to walk their dogs, or jog. The front entrance to our complex has a sign posted Private Property No Soliciting. In the past I have had to speak to people coming onto the property to walk their dogs and who let them relieve themselves on our property. I had to even call the police on one person since telling them three times this is private property for residents living here only did nothing to deter them other than to smile and come back again the next day. Please tell me what are the issues of allowing the “public” to use our land. I see liability first and foremost. I feel that if I pay for insurance, taxes and upkeep of the land, then it should be just for the residents living here to use.
Mister Condo replies:
C.F., sounds like you have a lovely community. I am sorry that it is bringing in the wrong element. First off, it would appear that your signage isn’t working. “No Soliciting” is not the same as “No Trespassing”, which is what these non-residents are doing. My advice is to work with your local police department to devise a plan for keeping these intruders off property. I am thinking a change to the signage from “No Soliciting” to “No Trespassing” would be a good start. Second, you could install security cameras (or fake security cameras for that matter) that indicate the area is under surveillance and that police take notice would also help. Finally, if all of that doesn’t work, it may be time for some fencing that discourages the trespassing altogether. The land is commonly owned by the association and is an important asset to protect. Trespassers also pose a potential liability to the association. What if someone falls and gets hurt? What if someone is bitten by a dog? The likely result is a lawsuit which will cost the association money to defend. Work with your local authorities to get this problem under control. Good luck!