Homeowner’s liability can carry multiple complexities. There are many danger areas in and around our properties that could cause injury. The right situation may provide an environment for potential legal responsiblity. Below is a list of the top five danger areas in and around the home, with suggestions on resolving these potential hazards. Knowing your home can help your house become an inviting place to inhabit and not a liability:
Walkways can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare if not kept clear of debris.
Leaves and ice are the most common culprits that could lead to a quick slip and fall. Holes that an individual could twist an ankle from also pose a hazard. Warning guests before arrival helps reduce possible injury; however, the best way to avoid problems for yourself or others is to inspect your property on a regular basis. Sprinkle salt if icy, rake up wet leaves and cover holes/or block the area off until able to repair. Inside the home, rugs that are not secure are a big threat directly related to slips and falls. Rugs need to be intact or removed before guests arrive.
Another walkway hazard that is often overlooked are toys. Toys left on stairs or in walkways can be very dangerous and cause a guest to be injured. Picking up all toys before a guest’s arrival can help diminish this risk as well. Make sure that banisters and railings are in good working order, especially if elderly people intend to enter your home. Another consideration that is often overlooked are handicapped guests. Are there handicapped ramps or alternate ways a guest can enter your home safely?
When lighting is poor, people can easily misjudge depth and perception. Installing sound lighting can help avert a possible fall and/or legal dispute. Having good lighting in the evening outside the house is also vital; lawn lights can help guide a guest back to their vehicles safely.
Homeowners with pools are responsible especially if children are nearby. A pool cover/fence or alarm system needs to be in place for children especially in order to avoid tragic consequences. Pool gates with appropriate key locks are also helpful. Homeowners without children need to be aware that they may still be held liable if a child is on their property when an incident occurs.
It is vital that pets are up to date on their vaccinations in case of a dog bite. Any dog that does not do well around guests needs to be removed from the environment temporarily so they do not pose a threat to others or become a liability.
A checklist of potential threats would be helpful for the homeowner to keep themselves organized and on top of home repairs. Most of the above suggestions can be accomplished as long as the homeowner is aware of their property surroundings, responsible before inviting guests and makes the necessary adjustments to their home.