Can my landlord order my guests never to come back to the property and then have them charged with trespass upon their return?
A. A landlord might not approve of the guests of a tenant at the rented premises. In such cases, the landlord will sometimes notify the guest that he or she is not to come back to the premises. If the person then returns to the premises after such notification, the landlord might seek to have the person arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
This is all fine and good if the tenant who considered such person a guest is in agreement with the landlord on the matter. But if the tenant still wants to invite his or her guest back, and the landlord has forbade the person to enter upon the grounds of the apartment complex, a question arises as to whether the guest is committing criminal trespass by returning at the invitation of the tenant.
In Ohio, the criminal trespassing statute is Ohio Revised Code Section 2911.21. In the case of State v. Hermann, 1996 Ohio App. LEXIS 881 (March 8, 1996) Portage Co. App. No.s 95-P-0044 and 95-P-0045 unreported, on two separate occasions, December 28, 1994 and January 5, 1995, appellant, Francesca L. Hermann, after being notified by the owner of Silver Meadows/Kenwood Courts Apartments that she was no longer permitted on the property, was visiting her boyfriend, Roland Metcalf, in Kent, Ohio. She was at his apartment with his permission and at his invitation. Appellant was found "on the complex," but the factual stipulation does not identify the specific location, whether she was found in a common area, a restricted area or in Metcalf's apartment. Upon discovering appellant, the property owner filed criminal complaints against appellant for criminal trespass.
The Eleventh District Court of Appeals reversed the Defendant's conviction for criminal trespassing. The Court of Appeals noted that Defendant claimed "that, as a matter of law, she cannot be found guilty of trespass since she was invited by Metcalf, a lawful tenant, to be on the property. We concur." The Appeals Court reasoned that the Defendant "had permission to be on the property and, therefore, properly asserted privilege as a defense to the charges."
Disclaimer: The information provided on ohiolandlordtenant.com is not intended to be legal advice, but general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. The law in your state may be different from that discussed here. The facts in your case may be different too.
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