What can I do if someone comes on to my property and I want them to leave?

You can warn the person that they are trespassing and that you will call the Police if they don't leave. If they don’t leave after the verbal warning then you can call the Police.

The person who is trespassing can argue a defence for staying on your property if they can prove that:

  • they need to remain for their own protection or that of someone else or 
  • they need to stay because of an emergency involving their own property, or someone else’s property.

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What can I do to discourage the person from coming back?

If you think the person who trespassed on your property might come back again, you can issue a trespass notice on them. This is a warning telling the person to stay off your property. You can deliver it verbally or by sending the person a written trespass notice. A written notice might be preferable as this gives you proof if the person denies knowing about the notice. The person serviced with a trespass notice would be breaking the law if they come back onto your property within the next two years.

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How do I serve a trespass notice in writing?

You need to make three copies of the notice. One copy is for you, one is for the person being trespassed, and you take the third to your nearest police station or attending Police officer.

To actually serve the notice, you (or the attending Police officer) can hand it to the trespasser in person or send it to their address by registered mail. If you are delivering the notice in person and the trespasser refuses to accept it, keep their copy and make a note that the person refused to accept it.

The NZ Police website has further information about serving a trespass notice, including a trespass notice template which you can download and use.

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Who is allowed to give someone a trespass notice?

You’re allowed to give someone a trespass notice or warning if you’re the “occupier” of the land – if you’re a tenant, licensee or owner (e.g. of a shop).

You can also issue a trespass notice if you're acting under the authority of the owner or occupier e.g. as an employee acting on behalf of your employer.

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I’ve been trespassed from my local Work and Income office so how can I get my benefit issues sorted?

Any business or organisation has a right to trespass you, for example if you have threatened staff or were caught stealing from the premises.

Although you may not be allowed to visit the Work and Income office in person, you can still call their contact centre on 0800 559 009.

If it’s necessary to speak to your case manager in person, then you might consider appointing someone (e.g. a friend or family member) to act as an agent on your behalf. Work and Income’s website has more information for trespassed clients. You can also read our information about Beneficiary advocacy.

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I was trespassed from a shop a few months ago. Now that the shop has changed ownership, does the trespass notice still apply?

If someone has issued you with a trespass notice, warning you not to go to a particular place, then you would normally not be able to go there for two years.

However if that person stops being an occupier of that place (e.g. someone else takes over running the shop), then you can use that to argue in your defence (to the Police or in court) if you wish to return to the shop before the end of the two year trespass period

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Can I cancel a trespass notice that I issued someone?

A trespass notice normally stays in place for two years. If you want to withdraw the trespass notice before the end of two years you should let the person know that the trespass notice is no longer in force.

It is okay to do this verbally but it might make it clearer if you put it in writing. If you gave a copy of the original trespass notice to the Police you should also update them that the person is no longer trespassed from your property.

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A store manager trespassed me from their store but I don’t think it was justified – can I challenge this?

The occupier of a private property (such as a retail store) does not need a good reason to issue someone with a trespass notice. So if this has happened to you and you could not convince the store manager to withdraw the notice, then you will have to abide by it.

You could possibly challenge a trespass notice that prevents you from participating in a public meeting, or a trespass notice issued by a public authority on the grounds that it is unreasonably limiting your rights under the Bill of Rights Act - but you would have to challenge the trespass notice in court.