Ohio Farm Bureau Landowner Toolkit - Page 13

Trespassing and Landowner Liability Americans have always cherished their constitutional right to own and control private property. Farmers and other landowners are often threatened by trespassers. This brochure attempts to help landowners learn about their rights and obligations in regard to trespassing and property rights. Civil Trespassing Under Common Law In common law, a trespasser is a person who enters upon the land of another without express or implied permission from the landowner or tenant. A trespasser also can be a person who, without authorization, goes upon the private premises of another person without any invitation or enticement by the owner or tenant and purely for the trespasser’s own purpose or convenience. Common law is mostly concerned with damage done to property by trespassers and speaks to the rights of landowners to recover money damages from trespassers. This must be done in a civil court action brought by the landowner against the trespasser. Ohio follows the premise that at least nominal damages are owed when trespassing occurs, even if there has been no substantial damage to the landowner or his property due to the trespasser’s acts.205 Criminal Trespassing under Ohio Statutes Under Section 2911.21 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person can be charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor if they do any of the following without the privilege to do so: 1. Knowingly enter or remain on the land or premises of another. 205 40 Pembauer v. Cincinnati, 745 F. Supp. 446 (S.D. OH 1990)