My wife and I are 'baby-sitting' a grand piano for a friend of ours. He had to downsize his home and moved from a house to a condo. Since he didn't have as much room in the condo, we agreed to let him keep the piano in our home until he either was able to sell it or wanted it back. We've had the piano about a year and have had no issues.
Yesterday, he called my wife and said that a prospective buyer was interested in the piano and would it be ok if she came by to look at it. My wife asked where he had advertised the piano and our friend told her Craigslist. My wife was wary because I wasn't home, but our friend assured her that he had called the woman at her work place and she was ok.
The lady came over and she seemed nice. She also played the piano very well. But my wife and I felt very uncomfortable having strangers come into our home, especially for an item advertised on Craigslist. We're not paranoid; it just seems foolish to be letting complete strangers into our home.
We ended up telling our friend that we weren't comfortable keeping the piano any longer, so he's going to be moving it out.
I told my wife that we have every right to decide who we let into our home. It would be one thing to have placed the ad ourselves; but we really have no idea who these potential buyers are and knowing that someone is advertising a $20,000 piano for sale might give some people the idea that the home is worthwhile casing or robbing.
There are several issues I thought about after my wife told me the whole story last night:
1. We never have to let someone into our home.
2. If we have let someone into our home, we always have the right to demand they leave, and they have to comply or face trespassing charges.
3. If someone refuses to leave, we have the right, in Texas, to use force to remove them from our property. Texas Penal Code §9.31 (governing the justified use of non-deadly force) and §9.32 (governing the justified use of deadly force) are our state's version of the Castle Doctrine.
The murky area here is what can be done when the person had originally been invited into the home? Once I determine that I want them to leave and they refuse to do so, I would be allowed to draw my weapon to scare them into leaving. Texas Penal Code §9.04 states that, for defensive purposes, the display of a weapon in order to create apprehension in another person is considered a use of force, not deadly force. That means if someone trespasses on my property, I may display my firearm to create apprehension that I will use deadly force if necessary. I will not be legally justified in discharging the firearm, but I will be legally justified in displaying it to "create apprehension" under the law. Only if the trespasser is committing other acts where the law states that I am justified in using deadly force, would I be allowed to discharge my firearm legally.
4. If the person I had originally invited into my home refuses to leave and then begins to act in a manner where I reasonably believe my life or my wife's life are in danger, I'd be justified in using deadly force.
Although I might be justified in using deadly force, the ramifications - legally, financially, and emotionally - are dire. That's why I'm glad that we told our friend that we weren't comfortable watching the piano any longer.
(1,200th post and now I'm a Distinguished Member! HOO HAH!)