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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 property lawyer.