What is a Trespass under Colorado Law?
A trespass to land occurs when someone intrudes onto your property and causes damage. Trespass is heavily litigated in urban and suburban neighborhood disputes in Colorado.
It is important to realize that the trespasser himself does not have to physically step foot onto your property to trespass. Likewise, you must realize that you may be guilty of trespass if you cause something to intrude onto someone else's property. So, if you receive a cease and desist letter or demand letter from a neighbor threatening a lawsuit, don't ignore it. Call a lawyer now.
To prove trespass in Colorado, you must show three elements, including:
- The plaintiff was the owner or lawful possessor of the property;
- The defendant intentionally entered upon or caused someone or something to enter upon that property; and
- The intrusion caused physical damage to plaintiff's property.
One interesting nuance of this claim is that a trespass claim can succeed even when the trespasser had permission to be on the property, when the plaintiff can show that the defendant trespasser exceeded the scope of that permission.
Some defenses to a trespass claim could be that:
- the defendant had permission to enter the other's property or was otherwise legally entitled to possession;
- the statute of limitations expired;
- fence law and grazing law; and
- acts of God.
What are some examples of Trespass Claims?
- allowing chemicals or substances to leak onto someone else's land (Hoery v. United States, 64 P.3d 214, 217 (Colo. 2003));
- doing something that causes water or snow to flow/fall onto someone else's land (Cobai v. Young, 679 P.2d 121, 123 (Colo. App. 1984); Webster v. Boone, 992 P.2d 1183, 1184 (Colo. App. 1999));
- construction on someone's land without permission (Bobrick v. Taylor, 467 P.2d 822, 825 (Colo. 1970));
- exceeding the scope of a lease agreement (First Interstate Bank v. Tanktech, Inc., 864 P.2d 116, 120 (Colo. 1993));
- creating invisible intrusions such as noise, electromagnetic fields, and radiation (See Cook v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 618 F.3d 1127, 1148-49 (10th Cir. 2010)).
Looking at these examples, it's easy to see that there is far more to trespass than meets the eye.
Contact Legal Counsel Now.
If someone is causing damage to your property in any way, whether tangible or intangible, you may have a trespass claim. Call an attorney experienced in trespass to land now or complete our Consultation Request Form to request a free consultation.