How do property owners give notice of trespassing?

The basic definition of trespassing is to enter the property of someone else without their permission. Most people understand that they cannot trespass into the home or vehicle of another person. However, if you approach a large wooded area with no structures or roads, you might not be sure if someone owns that land.

Texas law states that property owners should provide notice that people are not to trespass on their land. Trespassing notices can take different forms. If you cross onto private land and no one provides you with credible notice, a state prosecutor might have trouble proving that you knew not to trespass.

Oral notice

You walk up to a forested land, only for someone to approach you and say that the land is under the ownership of a person or a company and that no one may walk onto the land. You learn that the person is either the owner or a person with the authority to speak for the owner. This is an example of oral notice. If someone tells you to stay off a piece of land, you have received appropriate notice not to trespass.


A fence surrounding a piece of land is a pretty obvious sign that an owner has claim to the land and does not want intruders on it. Whether it is a chain link fence, a wired fence or a wooden fence, you can tell easily that you should pass that property by if you do not have permission to be there.

Posted signs

If you approach an empty plot of land without fencing, it might seem to be an unclaimed wilderness. However, state law permits property owners to serve notice by posting a sign, so be on the lookout. A large sign that says “Keep Out” or “Private Property” should be enough to give you notice to stay off the land.

Purple marks

Texas law also allows owners to warn trespassers by painting purple marks on posts or trees on a property. If painted too small, pedestrians might miss them, so state law requires property owners to paint them in locations where pedestrians can easily see them, and that the lines are not smaller than eight inches long and no less than an inch in width.