February 11th, 2014 10:03 AM by Eileen Denhard
Accidents happen. But if they happen on your property, are you liable for damages? Possibly. As a homeowner, you are obligated to keep your property safe and free from obvious risks.
Where your obligation ends and personal responsibility begins is ultimately up to the courts to decide. Limit your exposure to potential homeowner liability risks:
Keep Pathways Clear – Prevent slip and fall accidents by removing yard debris, ensuring adequately exterior lighting, repairing leaking downspouts, and keeping sidewalks clear.
Repair Building Exterior – Maintain the exterior of your home, securing any loose siding or shingles, repairing stairs and railings, and fixing loose pavers.
Check Contractor Coverage – Make sure contractors and trades carry their own liability and workers’ compensation insurance, as you are liable for any damage they cause.
Train and Contain Dogs – Enroll Rover in dog training classes to curb any aggressive tendencies and designate a special fenced area for dog only.
Maintain Trees – Cut back dead branches or remove dead trees to prevent them from falling on your neighbor’s house (or neighbor) during the next big windstorm.
Comply With Building Code – Make sure any required safety equipment, such as handrails, and smoke detectors, are in good repair and functioning properly.
Secure Pools and Hot Tubs – Practice pool safety! Keep gates locked so neighbors cannot access it when you are not around, always supervise children, and make sure lifesaving floatation devices are easily accessible.
Supervise Trampoline Use – Check the safety net and pads regularly to make sure they are in good working order.