Whether you just purchased a home, are in the process or have been a homeowner for years, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your home remains that safe haven for your family and visitors, as long as you live there. Many homes have hidden dangers that go unnoticed and can rapidly become financial liabilities that destroy your sense of security and financial security as well.
Taking steps to prevent these liabilities from happening in the first place is every home owner’s responsibility. The following items are the most common causes of a homeowner being sued:
SLIP AND FALL
Slip and falls can happen inside and outside of the home. Check your home’s interior for slick flooring, trip hazards from rugs, uneven flooring and objects placed in the pathway that can cause any type of slip or fall accident. Check the outside of the home and yard; this includes uneven sidewalks, driveways, steps or landings. Keep these areas free from ice, oil, debris and objects in the way that could cause a slip or fall. Loose or broken handrails, steps that are broken, uneven or have holes in them are dangerous as well. This also includes holes in your yard in the dirt or broken concrete. Use proper equipment or pay a professional to service your swamp cooler/air conditioner and to hang Christmas lights and decorations on your roof, eaves or high places. Do it yourself individuals, use safe and proper equipment as directed by the manufacturer.
If you own an animal, post a sign to warn others of the danger. License and keep the animals shots. Keep your yard fenced, animal tied up or put away, even if it is an inside pet. Animal bites, attacks and people getting knocked down by rambunctious pets are a great liability to home owners and their victims. No matter how tame your pet is, there is always a chance they won’t like a particular person, become moody, get startled or be over-friendly. Taking these actions can protect you and your pet.
Standing water, pools, ditches and running water is a great liability due to drowning or slipping. Cover ditch or canal openings, with a concrete, metal or high fence and post danger and no trespassing signs. Buckets, wheelbarrows and any other object that can hold water, from rain or that you fill yourself, such as bathtubs, kitchen sinks and bathroom sinks. These are potential risks for children and adults to drown in or get electrocuted if an electrical appliance, cord or wiring comes into contact with them.
Chemicals for home cleaning and home improvement products are overlooked liabilities. Store all cleaning and chemicals used for home improvement repairs and maintenance locked up and in properly labeled containers. Children and adults can drink them, play with, mix or use and store them improperly, causing death, poisoning and burns. Many chemicals that are left on rags, stored next to another chemical can also cause a spontaneous fire, chemical burn or toxic fumes. Don’t store gas in the wrong containers or leave them out where they can be access.
Matches, lighters, candles and incense used for camping, home dcor or lighting your appliances are a common hidden danger, that are often overlooked. In the wrong hands, used improperly or left unattended, these can cause a home fire, serious injury or death. Lock up and store flammables out of reach. Don’t leave candles and incense unattended even for a minute. Check and change bulbs on Christmas lights and throw out your Christmas tree if it gets dry. Have the gas company or service man light pilot lights and provide service to your furnace, stove and other appliances. Clean dryer vents from lint and heater ducts and chimney regularly. Prevent children from getting burned by adjusting the water heater to the lowest setting.
No matter where you live, how simple or grand your home is, your home is your haven and security. Preserving that sense of security and safety is every homeowner’s right and responsibility.