I Lease land from the City. Can I post a Private Property Sign on this land?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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I Lease land from the City. Can I post a Private Property Sign on this land?

This land is an open field. It has no buildings/structures on it. It is leased as a lot. I’m unable to build on it nor obtain any occupancy. I mow it, pretty much, and keep a garden. Which brings me to another question. If an accident was to occur on this land, who would be to blame – me or the city?

Asked on April 6, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) Anyone who leases land may put up a "private property" or "no trespassing" sign.
2) The person who has possession and control of the land--in this case, you--is responsible for injuries if you are at fault in some way in causing them. Since you are renting it, you have the right to access it and the city does not; therefore, you are the one responsible for the condition of the land and what is on it. For example, if you (to use an example often seen in cartoons and comedy) leave a rake laying on the ground with the tines up, so that if someone steps on the tines, the rake handle will spring up, and that happens and it breaks someone's nose, you could be liable since it is negligent, or careless, to leave a gardening tool that way. But you would not be liable if a group of kids came onto the land to play football and one twisted his knee or ankle while running, since you had nothing to do with that. If you create or fail to correct a dangerous condition, that is when you can be liable.

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