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Protecting Land with Private Property Signs

August 28, 2019

Homeowners and business owners who want to keep trespassers away from their land can effectively do so with private property signs. These signs often say just “Private Property” or “No Trespassing” with further details on how violators will be prosecuted. “Restricted Access” is another common sign that pretty much has the same message.

Each State Has Its Own Trespassing Laws

Laws vary from state to state when it comes to trespassing restrictions. In Arizona, a person is considered trespassing if they have been informed by a land owner or law enforcement officer to stay off the property. The owner should give reasonable notice to prohibit entry.

In California, the law defines trespassing as when an individual enters an enclosed or cultivated private property without the written permission of the owner or a representative. If the land is not cultivated or enclosed, the owner needs to place three warning signs every mile along exteriors roads and trails leading to the property’s entrance.

Washington requires individuals entering private property to have proper privilege or license, otherwise they are committing trespassing. The property owner simply needs to place signage in a conspicuous and visible manner that forbids trespassing. The size of the property will determine how many signs are needed. Some states require a sign every 500 feet on or near the property’s border, but in most states there is no specific requirement.

Arizona, along with California and Washington, considers trespassing on private property to be a misdemeanor. Some states consider it a felony that can lead to a fine and prison time, depending on the intent. Most states do not require specific language on the sign as long as the message is presented warning people to avoid entering private property.

Enjoying Privacy

A land owner has the right to privacy but must also be aware that they can be held liable if the trespasser is injured on the property where there isn’t sufficient proper signage. Some type of variation of private property signs is needed to inform visitors they need to leave the area. The signs are particularly needed in rural areas where private land seems seamlessly merged with public land. These signs can help discourage hiking, fishing and hunting if the owner does not want those activities near his or her property.

Owners further have the right to keep solicitors and loiterers off their property, but still need signage to warn people. It’s helpful to include the legal code on the sign to make the warning more serious. It’s best for owners to consult an attorney or authorities to ensure compliance with state and local laws regarding privacy and private land. For the most part, these signs can ususally be customized.


Protecting your private property is a right, but you must also operate within state laws and post proper private property signs to deter intruders. Contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location to know more about our company and how we can help protect your property with the right signage.

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