The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has spent many years working to amend existing state laws to make it easier to remove guests on the basis of “theft of service” or “trespassing” legislation.
According to a press release, the idea, according to TACO Executive Director and CEO Brian Schaeffer, is to create the legal basis to quickly remove guests who fail to pay for site services or otherwise violate park rules, just as if they were staying in a hotel or motel.
But during a legal affairs seminar on the second day of TACO’s Spring Meeting Wednesday (April 24), Schaeffer said the association’s efforts to modify state statutes mean little if local law enforcement authorities know nothing about these statutes or if they automatically handle every kind of guest dispute as a “landlord-tenant” issue that has to go through a civil court process.
It is, therefore, up to park operators to visit with their local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible to find out how they interpret state laws governing “theft of service” and “trespassing” at RV parks, Schaeffer said.
“You need to talk to local law enforcement from an educated standpoint. Visit with law enforcement, you need them to be on your side,” he said, adding that the park operators can print out latest versions of applicable state laws involving expulsions and evictions, which are posted at www.tacomembers.com.
“Take the laws and ask (your local law enforcement authorities), ‘How do you interpret this?’” Schaeffer said. “You need to able to approach these people, get their opinion and know up front what they are going to be able to do to help you or not help you.”
If local law enforcement officials still refuse to enforce state statutes involving RV parks, parks should ask what they can do to improve chances of having guests quickly removed if they fail to pay or otherwise violate park rules. This may involve having every guest sign a “site service agreement,” if they haven’t done so previously.
Schaeffer noted that some park operators run criminal background and credit checks on every guest. He added that when companies call to reserve a block of campsites for their workers, background checks should be run on every guest.
Wednesday’s activities also included a morning keynote address by Janine Stange, who overcame paralyzing stage fright to sing the National Anthem in all 50 states while dealing with a personal crisis and establishing a special connection with Medal of Honor winners.