Bill Text - HB514 (2012)

Relative to entry on private land.

Revision: Jan. 19, 2012, midnight


18Jan2012… 0254h





AN ACT relative to entry on private land.

SPONSORS: Rep. Weyler, Rock 8; Sen. Barnes, Jr., Dist 17

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill prohibits certain entry on private property for data gathering without a warrant or the written consent of the landowner.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18Jan2012… 0254h




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT relative to entry on private land.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Chapter; Entry on Private Property. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 7-B the following new chapter:



7-C:1 Entry on Private Property.

I. Absent a lawfully issued warrant, no person shall enter private property to gather data about the property, whether or not authorized by federal, state, or municipal agencies, boards, or commissions, or any nongovernmental organization, without first giving written notice to the property owner and obtaining the prior written permission of the property owner.

II. No information gathered by entering private property without permission or a lawfully issued warrant shall be recorded, made public, or used for studies or grants, including information gathered without property owner permission prior to enactment of this section.

III. Information gathered on the property with permission may only be used for the specific purpose stated in the notification.

7-C:2 Notification Requirements. Notice required by RSA 7-C:1, I to the landowner shall include:

I. The purpose of the data gathering.

II. The date and duration of the data gathering.

III. The specific land and features of the land that will be evaluated.

IV. The manner in which the person gathering the data will record and retain the information.

V. The method by which the person gathering the data will share the information, and who the person gathering the data will share the information with.

VI. A full disclosure of the potential restrictions that may be placed on the property, and on abutters, as a consequence of such information being recorded.

7-C:3 Property Owner Response. If written permission is not received from the property owner within 15 days of the notice, permission to enter the property shall be deemed denied.

7-C:4 Effect on Land Use Board Decisions. No state or municipal agency, board, or commission, or other governmental entity shall use data from abutting land as a factor in the denial of any permit or approval.

7-C:5 Exemptions.

I. The requirements of this chapter shall not apply to:

(a) State officials acting under statutory authority explicitly authorizing entry upon private property without permission; however written notification shall be sent to the property owner prior to entry upon the private property.

(b) State, county, or local officials for the purpose of perambulation; however written notification shall be sent to the property owner prior to entry upon private property.

(c) Federal, state, or local officials conducting inspections related to permits, licenses, or certifications applied for by the property owner.

(d) Federal, state, or local law enforcement responding to an emergency, or who have been called to the property, or who are inquiring about a report of activity on the property.

(e) Land surveyors conducting standard property surveys of abutting property.

(f) Emergency responders responding to an emergent public health threat or who have been called to the property.

(g) Municipal assessing officials.

(h) Public utility workers in the course of their normal duties or when responding to an emergency.

II. The exemptions in paragraph I shall not be construed to expand any authority to enter onto the property of another without first obtaining either the permission of the property owner or a court order.

7-C:6 Remedies.

I. If any public body or public agency or officer, employee, or other official thereof, violates any provisions of this chapter, such public body or public agency shall be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in a lawsuit under this chapter, provided that the court finds that such lawsuit was necessary in order to enforce compliance with the provisions of this chapter or to rectify a purposeful violation of this chapter. Fees shall not be awarded unless the court finds that the public body, public agency, or person knew or should have known that the conduct engaged in was in violation of this chapter or if the parties, by agreement, provide that no such fees shall be paid.

II. The court may award attorney’s fees to a public body or public agency or employee or member thereof, for having to defend against a lawsuit under the provisions of this chapter, when the court finds that the lawsuit is in bad faith, frivolous, unjust, vexatious, wanton, or oppressive.

III. The court may invalidate an action of a public body or public agency taken in part due to data gathered in violation of this chapter.

IV. If the court finds that an officer, employee, or other official of a public body or public agency has knowingly violated any provision of this chapter, the court shall impose against such person a civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $2,000. Upon such finding, such person or persons shall also be required to reimburse the public body or public agency for any attorney’s fees or costs it paid pursuant to paragraph I.

V. The court may also enjoin future violations of this chapter, and may require any officer, employee, or other official of a public body or public agency found to have violated the provisions of this chapter to undergo appropriate remedial training, at such person or person’s expense.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.