You may understandably have some concerns about trespassing if you own a vacant building. Depending on the location, age of the property and length of time that it has been unoccupied, it can be dangerous for those who enter without permission, not to mention damaging to your property. Even so, many people in California and elsewhere enjoy exploring empty properties that they deem abandoned, which can be problematic for property owners.
The act of creeping through empty structures is known as urban exploring. Most people who explore these properties do not mean any harm and do so simply to satisfy their curiosity, take some photographs and have some thrills. However, you might not want anyone entering an empty building you own and getting hurt, leaving garbage or causing damage. HowStuffWorks explains that you may discourage urban explorers and protect your legal interests by installing a fence around the property, putting up “no trespassing” signs and padlocking entrances. These precautions signal that someone owns the property and that it is not completely abandoned. Additionally, entering property that is locked and clearly marked as private can be considered breaking and entering, which is against the law.
Those who enjoy urban exploring might not realize that you have future plans for the property or that there are dangers within. When you take reasonable steps to discourage entrance, you should not be held responsible for injuries or damages that occur when your property is unlawfully entered. The information in this blog is not intended as legal advice.