Protect Yourself Legally When You Have Houseguests

liabilities for house guestsMemorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, is just around the corner.  During the summer months, you may be planning to invite friends over more often than usual to enjoy some time outdoors at your home.  As you do, keep in mind that as a homeowner, you are responsible for the safety of the guests on your property.  If someone is injured on your property, you can be sued, particularly if they were injured as a result of a hazard you were aware of and did not fix.  It is important to always keep your homeowner’s insurance policy up to date should something like this occur.

One thing to take into consideration before you invite guests over is the condition of your property.  If there are any structural issues, such as rotten boards on your deck, either fix them or rope them off to prevent injury to your guests.  Remove any junk items from your property that could present a safety hazard, such as old refrigerators.  If you have an inground pool, place a fence around it to prevent young children or pets from accessing it unsupervised.

Another major consideration is serving alcohol to your guests.  An intoxicated guest could injure themselves or someone else on your property.  Even worse, they may choose to get behind the wheel of a car to leave your home.  Depending on the law in your state, you may be fully responsible for the actions of that guest because you provided the alcohol that caused the actions to occur.  This is why it is very important to set limits regarding alcohol in your home and stick to them.  If you are having an alcohol-free event and you notice someone drinking, remove the alcohol. Never let minors consume alcohol in your home.  Cut off any guest that appears to have had one too many.  If you know you have a guest that cannot drive, call them a cab or arrange for a sober guest to take them home.

Leave a Reply