What responsibilities do property owners have toward guests?

Owning property in California brings with it a host of responsibilities. Whether the property is commercial, residential or zoned for a different purpose, its owner must understand and respect the laws that govern how the property should be cared for and maintained. When the property owner allows others to enter onto the property, problems can arise related to premises liability law.

For example, many San Mateo County residents own their own homes and enjoy entertaining their friends and families in their houses and yards. When a homeowner invites another person to come over and enter their land, they must ensure that they are providing that visitor with safe accommodations. Property owners must take steps to protect their invited guests from dangers they know about on their properties, as well as dangers they should be aware of through reasonable diligence.

Not every person who enters onto the property of another is entitled to these protections. Individuals who illegally enter land, such as trespassers, may not be afforded the same rights. A trespasser is a person who does not have permission to be somewhere and the owner of the property has no expectation of their presence and, therefore, has no responsibility to keep them safe.

When individuals get hurt in the homes, businesses and properties of other people, they may wish to understand their rights to compensation. The personal injuries they sustain can be serious and costly and, under premises liability theories of law, they may be able to demonstrate the negligence of the owners who failed to protect them from preventable harm.

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