Homeowners: Be Aware of Potential “Attractive Nuisances”

Landlords are responsible for making sure their property is safe and securing New Jersey Home Insurance to protect themselves. There are various scenarios that would put the landlord at risk and held liable for damages. For example, if a child is injured due to an exterior hazard on the property, the landlord could incur those medical costs without the proper protection.

The attractive nuisance doctrine does not set a specific age range on who is considered a child, each situation will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The criteria the judge must consider is whether the child has the ability to understand that the object is dangerous or has the potential to be dangerous.

What Is an Attractive Nuisance?

The purpose of the attractive nuisance doctrine is to protect children. An attractive nuisance is anything on the property that is dangerous and enticing to children. For instance, would the child have a desire to enter the property if it had not been for this object? Does the object have the potential to cause harm to the child?

Some other examples include:

  • Water Features, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains, waterfalls or wells.
  • Construction Debris, such as a pile of metal or lumber.
  • Machines, such as tractors, bobcats, lawnmowers, golf carts or all-terrain vehicles.
  • Play Equipment, such as trampolines, bounce houses or climbing walls.
  • Appliances, such as a refrigerator or freezer where a child could get stuck inside.

What Could Make a Landlord Liable?

A landlord is not responsible for every single item on their property but generally, a judge considers the following criteria to determine if the landlord may be held responsible:

  • Man-Made items. Landlords will usually only be responsible for objects on the property that were created by man and maintained by the landlord. They will not be responsible for natural features on the property, such as a pond.
  • Reason to believe the object could attract children. The object on the property is attractive to children. The landlord must have a reason to believe that this object could cause children to trespass onto the property.
  • Reason to believe the object could seriously injure a child. The landlord has reason to believe that the object could cause injury to a child. Since children can get injured on anything, a judge may rule out structures that are ordinary on a property, such as a rooftop or a staircase, as long as they do not pose an unusual hazard based on a structural issue or similar known hazard.
  • Cost to fix the hazard. The cost to fix the hazardous object does not put a heavy burden on the landlord or interfere with the way in which the object or the property is used.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Remove the Hazard

Help prevent injury on your property by removing the hazard completely. This is an easier solution for objects such as construction debris or old appliances.

Secure the Hazard

According to Find Law, you can secure the object in proper storage and possibly with a lock. Or, secure the property by putting a fence around a potential attractive nuisance, such as a swimming pool.

Follow Local Law

Ensure you’re up to date on all building and property inspections. Be able to prove your property complies with all health and safety codes.

Consult Your Insurer

Speak to your New Jersey home insurance agent to inquire upon items that would be considered attractive nuisances and recommendations for negating these hazards.

About SB One Insurance Agency

At SB One Insurance Agency, we have served the businesses and residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania for more than 60 years. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of SB One Bank, the region’s premier banking institution, and we are prepared to offer you personal, business, employee benefits, and risk management solutions. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.