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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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I own a townhome in , Iowa, and had to travel to Korea

Customer Question

I own a townhome in Ames, Iowa, and had to travel to Korea for 3 months because of family emergency.
Because I have two dogs and needed somebody to pick up the mails, my wife asked a friend of hers (a female friend) to do those and gave her the keys.
That friend is not paying any rent and we do not have any contracts with her.
We have had two cameras at home (I had installed them about 4 years ago to watch the dogs, and my wife's friend is aware of the cameras) and realized that my wife's friend is now living in my house with a guy whom I have never met before.
As I mentioned, my wife and her friend didn't sign any contracts, but had verbal agreements about what is allowed and what is not.
Some of those are:
1. Do not make the dogs stay home by themselves for more than 4-5 hours at a time.
2. Do not let other people sleep in our house.
3. Do not go into the basement because there are our personal documents including immigration documents.
4. Our house cannot be used for partying.
5. No alcohol in our house.
6. Food and drinks should not be on the floor and you cannot go upstairs with food because of our dogs.
My wife and her friend had agreed on these and more things.
And one day, I turned on my camera app to see how my dogs were doing, and saw
that the friend had invited people over for drinks (alcohol) and played card games.
Couple of hours later, a guy (now living in our house) was walking up and down the stairs in only boxers.
My wife called her friend to make sure that the guy was leaving soon. The friend told my wife that he will be leaving but he never left the house.
On the next day, my wife's friend told us that she had left the house and did not come back for about 8 hours because she was not happy that we were looking at the cameras, and started covering one of the cameras so we can't see the stairs and the main area of the house without our permission.
We also noticed that they go down to the basement and as I had mentioned they had agreed to not go down into the basement.
We have tax and immigration documents in the basement.
Also, everyday, they are taking food upstairs.
As of now, I do not wish to report a crime or start any investigation because I don't want no harms done to our dogs again.
I wish to know if this is illegal trespassing or if there are any other charges that I can file on them.
To me, the guy is there living without our permission, and therefore, is committing some sort of a crime.
Also, the girl is breaking most of the agreements, if not all and taking advantage of the house.
I am very stressed out here because I don't know the guy, he has access to our personal documents, and I am afraid that if I started asking them to not cover the cameras and stick to the rules, they may do mean things to our dogs.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I own a townhome in Ames, Iowa, and had to travel to Korea for 3 months because of family emergency.
Because I have two dogs and needed somebody to pick up the mails, my wife asked a friend of hers (a female friend) to do those and gave her the keys.
That friend is not paying any rent and we do not have any contracts with her.We have had two cameras at home (I had installed them about 4 years ago to watch the dogs, and my wife's friend is aware of the cameras) and realized that my wife's friend is now living in my house with a guy whom I have never met before.As I mentioned, my wife and her friend didn't sign any contracts, but had verbal agreements about what is allowed and what is not.
Some of those are:
1. Do not make the dogs stay home by themselves for more than 4-5 hours at a time.
2. Do not let other people sleep in our house.
3. Do not go into the basement because there are our personal documents including immigration documents.
4. Our house cannot be used for partying.
5. No alcohol in our house.
6. Food and drinks should not be on the floor and you cannot go upstairs with food because of our dogs.My wife and her friend had agreed on these and more things.
And one day, I turned on my camera app to see how my dogs were doing, and saw
that the friend had invited people over for drinks (alcohol) and played card games.
Couple of hours later, a guy (now living in our house) was walking up and down the stairs in only boxers.
My wife called her friend to make sure that the guy was leaving soon. The friend told my wife that he will be leaving but he never left the house.
On the next day, my wife's friend told us that she had left the house and did not come back for about 8 hours because she was not happy that we were looking at the cameras, and started covering one of the cameras so we can't see the stairs and the main area of the house without our permission.We also noticed that they go down to the basement and as I had mentioned they had agreed to not go down into the basement.
We have tax and immigration documents in the basement.Also, everyday, they are taking food upstairs so the guy does not get caught living there.
They even started shipping packages to our house without our permission.As of now, I do not wish to report a crime or start any investigation because I don't want no harms done to our dogs again.
I wish to know if this is illegal trespassing or if there are any other charges that I can file on them.
To me, the guy is there living without our permission, and therefore, is committing some sort of a crime.
Also, the girl is breaking most of the agreements, if not all and taking advantage of the house.I am very stressed out here because I don't know the guy, he has access to our personal documents, and I am afraid that if I started asking them to not cover the cameras and stick to the rules, they may do mean things to our dogs.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.Thanks!
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 6 months ago.

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. Nothing in what you have described violates any criminal law. The police will not, at this time, cite this individual for trespassing because he has permission of someone that you gave permission to be in your house and stay there. I realize that you didn't give him permission, but I can tell you that because of the way the criminal (versus civil) trespass laws are written and because of what I know about what cases police will and will not get involved in, it is highly unlikely that they will cite him at this time and there is no other criminal violation described in your facts. You could call them and ask them to talk to him and tell him that you are revoking his right to be in the house and that he does not have permission, but that is as far as they will go at this time. They could give him a warning and then if they catch him there again, cite him for trespassing, but they may or may not do that. It is within their discretion.

You have to keep in mind too that this could result in the same consequences that you say you want to avoid, which is neglect or damages to your home and dogs. So, you have to decide if you want to take that risk or just chalk this up to a lesson learned about this friend of your wife. Since there is no contract, the house rules can't be enforced.

So, that this point, you are in a situation where you either have to live with this situation and monitor it, or find someone else to step in and replace this friend in their house sitting duties.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

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