If you want someone to leave your place of work for any reason, it’s much easier to trespass someone than you might think.
They may be committing offences on your property, such as shoplifting, being disorderly or simply have no right to be there. If someone is on your property, you can tell them to leave and to stay off your property; it is not their right to be there; you have the right to decide who comes in the door.
Who can issue a trespass notice?
Any person who the legal occupier has authorised to give a warning – this could be the owner, staff or the police for example. It is not necessary to own the property.
If someone has been warned to keep off your property, it’s a criminal offence if they:
refuse to leave your property after you warn them to leave, or
returns after you warn them not to return within two years of the warning.
The penalty for trespass offences is a fine of up to $1,000 or a prison term of up to three months, if they are convicted. However, these maximum penalties would only ever be imposed in the most serious cases and imprisonment almost never. For most people, the value of a trespass order is not the option of going to court and getting a conviction, but rather the fact that the police can be involved to enforce a trespass order in some cases.
You can deliver the warning verbally or in writing. If you deliver a trespass notice verbally, it is advisable to record the date and time along with the reason for giving a trespass notice to that person. Also record the name or description of the person asked to leave.
There is no legal requirement to give a trespass notice in writing. However, a written document reinforces the situation for the person given the trespass notice; they cannot say they did not know of the notice and requirement to leave and not return.
The written notice doesn’t need to say anything special, just that the person isn’t allowed on your property. You may like to use the NZ Police template.
To serve a notice you simply hand it to the person. If they refuse to accept it and it drops on the ground, it is still considered served. Keep that copy and note down that the person refused to accept the notice.
You should keep a copy for yourself to help show that you have given a warning, in case you need to go to the police later because the trespasser has come back.
And, you can register the trespass with the Police by dropping a copy into the local station, or upload the PDF online here. If you register the trespass with the police, if you have need to call the police to complain about a person trespassing, they will have a record of the trespass notice and the process of removal will be easier.
You are required to give a reasonable time for the trespasser to leave. If the person stays or takes an unreasonable time to comply, call 111 and ask for Police.
If someone comes back after you have given them a trespass notice they will have committed an offence. Call 111 and ask for Police.