KNOCK KNOCK, LAWSUIT OR TREAT? Homeowners Tips to Avoid Premise Liability Issues on Halloween

It’s that time of the year again: the leaves are falling, the days are shorter and the nights are longer reminding us that Halloween will soon be here! But no need to fear. We gathered some tips for homeowners to consider this Halloween season to avoid potential premise liability issues. Whether you may expect trick-or-treaters on your property or decorations that may get out of hand… Read on and learn how you can keep your property (and yourself) safe from a potential lawsuit this Halloween.

Beware of Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween means costumes, candy, and spooky times. But don’t put yourself in a scary situation as a homeowner when it comes to serving candy to trick-or-treaters.  Remember, liability is usually connected to whoever is in control of the property at the time of an accident. An owner or occupier of real estate has the duty to maintain their premises in a reasonable safe condition.  If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, take a look around your property for any potentially hazardous conditions. If you do find such conditions, do your best to either remove, repair, or warn before visitors arrive.

Brews and Potions

When hosting a party, be aware of social host liability.  You may be held liable for damages of intoxicated guests who cause an accident after leaving your home. A homeowner or host may also be held liable when the guest was being served or serving him or herself alcoholic beverages at the party.

Creepy Crawlers or Dogs that Holler

Spooky season invites neighbors and strangers around the block for trick-or-treating so be aware of any pets, especially dogs that are easily excitable when seeing new people, hearing the doorbell ring, or seeing visitors dressed in costumes.  Make sure to keep your pets safely secured in a separate room or on a leash. It is always best to keep your fur friends inside during trick-or-treating hours to prevent any scary surprises.

Glowing in the Dark

As many of us enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit, remember to avoid hazards for slips and trips when placing cords or decorations around your home. Keeping the lights on around your home will also prevent slips and trips, and lead little trick-or-treaters to some treats before they trick you.

Finally, as we lead up to Halloween, make sure that your homeowner insurance policy is active and provides adequate coverage for you and your family.  

If you have any questions about homeowners liability during Halloween and beyond, contact Erica E. Bross and Chad M. Moore or call as at 732-545-4717.