Securing Abandoned Buildings or Defunct Buildings

What Should You Know to Protect Yourself as A Property Owner

For unknown reasons, abandoned buildings are attractions to many people — whether for personal entertainment, vandalism or for further criminal activity. Because the property is abandoned, many trespassers give little to no thought to the property owners and the risk their infraction poses to them.

As an owner of an abandoned building or property, are you frustrated because of recurrent trespassing, vandalism and more? Not sure what to do about it? Below is factual information to help you learn more about trespassing and what you can do about it as the property owner.

What counts as trespassing? Is trespassing against the law?

According to the Trespass to Property Act R.S.O. 1990, c. T.21, it is against the law for anyone to enter your property without permission. To read the full Act, click this link for more information.

Given the nature of these types of emergency calls, they can often be considered lower priority. In the event that an emergency call is placed for your property, police will respond to ensure that no trespassers are on or remain on your property.

If someone enters my property without permission and gets injured, who is held accountable?

Unfortunately, the law stipulates that the owner of the building or property must be held accountable for any injuries or death occurring on said property. As a property owner, this then puts the onus on you to secure your property to prevent any such occurrence.

If there are signs that someone was inside the building, can the local police go into the building to search for suspicious activity or persons?

In short, yes. Should the police notice a cut lock or broken/open door, they may enter the property to ensure there are no trespassers and to ensure public safety. If the lock or door appears to have been in disrepair for an extended period of time, the police may choose not to enter the premises due to health & safety concerns.

If trespassing is a common on your property, additional security measures like mobile security patrol or CC security cameras may be a helpful tool and deterrent. In the event of something more serious, it’s recommended that you call your local emergency services promptly instead.

If someone trespasses on my property, am I allowed to detain them myself?

Yes. According to the Trespass Act section 2. R.S.O. 1990, c. T.21, s. 9 (1), a police officer, the occupier of premises, or a person authorized by the occupier may arrest without warrant any person he or she believes on reasonable and probable grounds to be on the premises in contravention of the Trespass Act. Any attempt to resist this detainment is considered resisting arrest and could be considered a Provincial or Criminal Offence.

While it is legal, attempting to apprehend a suspect yourself can be dangerous to yourself or others. It should always be a last resort and should only be done when your safety and the safety of the suspect are at limited risk. If you cannot detain the trespasser safely, we highly recommend that you call your local authorities or your security company to respond to the situation instead.

Are occurrences of trespassing on the rise?

While it’s difficult to comment on the ever-changing statistics of trespassing or break-and-enters, it’s unclear whether trespassing is becoming more common. What is clear, however, is the effect of video-sharing sites like YouTube and Instagram has had on these types of infractions.

From video showing users in dangerous locations (i.e. on building ledges, climbing transmission tower, etc.), investing “paranormal” locales for entertainment purposes and more, these Vloggers/Instagrammers have glamourized trespassing and have inspired others to do the same. Depending on your property, extra security measures may be necessary to protect yourself from liability.

How can I prevent people from trespassing on my property?

To prevent people from entering the premises without your permission, you need to ensure that your property is properly secured at all times. This includes securing all windows and doors, installing fences as necessary, and attending to any other possible entry points.

While these will deter most people, oftentimes, these security measures can fall into disrepair or be damaged by intruders. If this is the case, you may greatly benefit from hiring a Security Provider for scheduled or random mobile security patrols or CC camera monitoring.

If you are looking for a reliable and trustworthy security company to do random or scheduled patrols on your property, please feel free to contact us. You can reach us at 1-888-444-5232 or email us at to get started!