Is it trespassing if people remain in a gym after the closing announcements have been made?

I work the front desk of a gym/fitness facility. We make 3 closing announcements in the evening in the last remaining hour to remind patrons that we will be closing. The first announcement is made with 30 minutes left, the second with 15 minutes left, and the final announcement is made at closing. Yet, we constantly have the same members about 7 of

them insist on staying 5 to 20 minutes after closing. Would this be considered trespasing and, if so, what can be done?

Asked on July 6, 2016 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, technically, it is trespassing, since to remain in *any* location after those with the right to control access or use tell you to leave is trespassing, and so yes, you could contact the police (which is how you deal with trespassing). Of course, calling the police on your customers is  very good way to go out of business very quickly. This is a case where enforcing your legal rights may be a very bad idea. A better idea might be to, when new customers sign up or existing customers renew their contracts, to add a new clause or provision to the contract that customers who remain after closing 3 or more times will be charged an extra $10 for each time, after the 2nd time, they stay past closing (or something similar to this). This may discourage this behavior; or if not, will at least bring in extra revenue.


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