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Duty of Care for Property Owners Explained

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Duty of Care for Property Owners Explained

According to premises liability laws, a property owner owes certain individuals who enter the property a duty of care to keep them safe from harm.

Is the Duty of Care the Same for Homeowners and Possessors?

The answer depends on the jurisdiction. For example, a landowner that leases the land may not have the same duty of care as a homeowner living on the land does because the landowner only owns the land that the house is on, and not the house as well. However, a landlord may not be responsible for injuries suffered by a visitor in an apartment. Then, tenant may be responsible instead because they are the one in possession of the premises.

What Are the Types of Duty of Care Owed to a Visitor?

Homeowners have the duty to make their homes safe for visitors and on the property for business purposes. Other types of duty of care are:

  • Store owners: Make sure premises are safe for shoppers, such as keeping the isles clear of debris and maintaining security staff to prevent violent shoplifters from harming customers.
  • Landowners: Ensure the land is safe for the purpose intended, such as a camping ground or a golf course.
  • Business owners: Keep the building structurally sound and safe from causing injuries.

They specific duty of care a property owner must provide also depends on a visitor’s status.

What Is the Duty of Care Owed to an Invitee?

An invitee is anyone a property owner asks or induces to come onto the property. The duty of care involves exercising ordinary care to keep premises safe.

What Is the Duty of Care Owed to a Licensee?

A licensee is an individual with no contractual relationship with the property owner. However, he is allowed on the premises either implicitly or expressly. For example, a social guest is considered a licensee. A property owner must use enough care to prevent the licensee from becoming injured.

What Is the Duty of Care Owed to a Trespasser?

A property owner does not owe a trespasser a duty of care unless the trespasser is considered to be a known trespasser. A known trespasser is someone who the property owner knows or has reason to know comes on to the property without the property owner’s permission.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about Duty of Care?

Property ownership comes with a lot of rights and responsibilities. In order to understand more about your rights and obligations as a property owner, contact a real estate lawyer.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-15-2015 03:21 PM PDT

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