Potential Liability?
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Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) May 13, 2018 8:44 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Ken [NY]) May 13, 2018 8:59 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) May 13, 2018 9:00 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Frank [NJ]) May 13, 2018 9:37 AM
       Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) May 13, 2018 10:13 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Frank [NJ]) May 13, 2018 11:08 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Robert J [CA]) May 13, 2018 11:31 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Ken [NY]) May 13, 2018 12:38 PM
       Potential Liability? (by razorback_tim [AR]) May 13, 2018 12:55 PM
       Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) May 13, 2018 1:02 PM
       Potential Liability? (by DJ [VA]) May 13, 2018 1:29 PM
       Potential Liability? (by fred [CA]) May 13, 2018 4:25 PM
       Potential Liability? (by AllyM [NJ]) May 13, 2018 6:20 PM
       Potential Liability? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) May 13, 2018 10:38 PM
       Potential Liability? (by Still Learning [NH]) May 14, 2018 5:18 AM
       Potential Liability? (by plenty [MO]) May 14, 2018 5:25 AM
       Potential Liability? (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) May 14, 2018 12:17 PM
       Potential Liability? (by Pmh [TX]) May 14, 2018 12:42 PM
       Potential Liability? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) May 14, 2018 7:06 PM

Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 8:44 AM

So we have a newly-completed ADU with an open-loft bedroom area (half-wall, second story.) It's one big room and then the open second story loft.

A young couple viewed it yesterday, seemed okay, sent them app link. Today she writes to me and says, 'Oh we forgot to mention he has a daughter that will visit from time to time, is that okay?'

What would our liability be if a young child fell from that open loft??

I am ignoring her email for today - it's Mother's Day, I'm out of the office LOL! - but I'm really not sure what I could answer her!

Thoughts? --50.82.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 8:59 AM

As long as the wall met the requirements of the code office and you did it with permits I would think you should be ok but I am not a lawyer.That is what insurance is for.You have to assume someone will have a kid up there or maybe more likely is someone getting drunk and falling over the wall --72.231.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 9:00 AM

I think you'd have huge liability, but fair housing says you can't refuse to rent to children and potential liability or dangers to a child in the area is not an acceptible reason to turn a child down.

Just a suggestion. My application requires that everyone who will be living in the house be listed by name. It also says that any omissions on the application are grounds for rejection.

So, I would reject an applicant who "forgot" to list everyone who would be living there.

I've got no patience with tenants who hide things they suspect will cause rejection and then spring them as a big surprise after they have been already accepted. --174.216.xx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by Frank [NJ]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 9:37 AM

I think that you already know the answer.

Your insurance co. would be quick to drop you if there was "an event" and you did not have a safety railing, code or not, as you "should have known" that it was an "accident waiting to happen.

I would not rent it as-is unless I installed an idiot-proof railing that helped safeguard against sleep-walkers, the drugged-out, drunkards or the criminally stoopit. --74.105.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 10:13 AM

Frank, there is a 4-foot wall. We are not worried about an adult falling over. You'd really have to try to fall over it! More likely to fall down the stairs, and we can't eliminate stairs from our lives! But a kid could CLIMB on it and that's a worry.

They have not submitted their application yet. Her question was, "Should we go ahead and submit it anyway?" My inclination is to ignore her until tomorrow, when I will be showing it again anyway.

They are not my first candidate anyway. Her comment as she was looking around was that she knows the neighborhood well, as she's lived in "about 15 places" around there...so I doubt her application is going to pan out regardless.

Right now they are renting a single room in someone's home. That's not uncommon around here though. --50.82.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by Frank [NJ]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 11:08 AM

I completely missed the part of the 4 ft. wall. Sorry 'bout that.

Sounds like that should do it.

Carry on.......... --74.105.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 11:31 AM

I had several circumstances with a similar situation. An apartment with one unit having stairs to the roof. The building is square in size with an open center area. So if your on the roof and it's dark or your drunk, you can fall in the center of the roof down three stories to your death.

I tried locking the door to the roof but tenants get a locksmith to make them a key. Being on the beach the view is breath taking. To install bars around the open center area would be $10,000 because it need to be 6 feet tall and bolted from the sides, can't be done on top -- it's a roof.

Even in my lease I give no one permission to go on the roof, someone will gain access for the view, etc.

So I purchased special netting. Made for exterior use. And installed it several feet below the center drop from the roof. To date, 20 years later, I've caught 3 bodies in the net. Which meant even with a lease, locked door to the roof, tenants and their guest gained access (some from a short 1 story ladder from a second floor balcony) and would have died.

A friend with a two story house and loft area over looking the living room had a 3 foot railing. With two daughters between 6 to 10 years of age and guest, they were also worried about someone falling. So we ran cables above the railing in several rows spread 6 inches apart raising the 3 foot wall a total of two feet. The help prevent people from sitting on the 3 foot rail and no one would fall. --47.156.xx.xx

Potential Liability? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 12:38 PM

I think you should respond tomorrow and tell her yes please apply,otherwise she might have a discrimination case,just rent it before she gets an app back to you or find another reason to deny which seems very likely --72.231.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 12:55 PM

IMO you are being overly cautious (or paranoid). :) Think about all of the public places that have open views to floors below with walls 4’ or less. I’m pretty sure code requirement is 42”. Have you ever stayed at an Embassy Suites? They are open all the way to the bottom and many if not most are 5 stories or more. I think their barrier is less than 4’. That’s just one of many examples. --166.137.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 1:02 PM

Razorback, you might be right about that, except that young children are not usually playing in the corridors of the Embassy Suites...parents let their kids play in their own houses.

She has the link to apply! She just has to do it. Doesn't cost her anything yet.

It bothers me they never mentioned it and we talked quite a bit. Plus the place is obviously a studio with a loft sleeping area, not even a true one bedroom. --50.82.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 1:29 PM

They "forgot" to mention the child on purpose. I agree with Ken.


Potential Liability? (by fred [CA]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 4:25 PM

Monday morning you should call, or visit, your local Dept of Building and Safety, to find out if you meet their code or not.

Once you find out for sure, you will know what to say to this potential tenant. --99.59.x.xxx

Potential Liability? (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 6:20 PM

Faced with possibility of a single father with three year old male triplets and a big wide staircase on a second floor, and turning them down might get me sued for discrimination, I put the building up for sale for a couple months and did some rehab while it was vacant. --73.178.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: May 13, 2018 10:38 PM


Check for code compliance.

The parent in you sees potential danger. I appreciate “Women’s Intuition.” This worries you so increase the height in some fashion and sleep well.

Add a railing, more wall, cables, mini-fence...it might make a plain wall look interesting!

In the end we cannot stop visitors, even with tough claiuses.

Her comment: Meh. I don’t read into casual comments. I screen from the app. Perhaps she was being honest. Perhaps she is not the parent so the child is not on jer mind. Perhaps she was focused on the home. Perhaps she was feeling out management’s policy on guests. Perhaps she is a Fair Housing tester. Perhaps she was nervous. If they are in a bedroom now may e the motivation to move is to have space for the child’s visits.

Me? We screen the app and IF she is approved we’ll ask about the child’s visits.

Our 2 Minute In Home Visit will possibly reveal the child’s involvement by seeing the bedroom, etc.



Potential Liability? (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: May 14, 2018 5:18 AM

Agree, have them apply and disqualify if they don’t meet criteria. I don’t like the way they asked “should we apply”? Check code and add a clause to your lease about no climbing, sitting etc on the wall. Perhaps also no furniture against it which would act as stairs.

My kids are grown and we never had problems with our loft. They flew airplanes and dropped parachute men from it. It’s now my exercise area and I was babysitting some young girls that wanted to bounce on my bosu ball while holding the railing. I cleared out all the things that made them “taller” and more likely to go over before they came over again. --24.61.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: May 14, 2018 5:25 AM

I would write in my lease a clause for them to initial that reads they are not to put any furniture within six feet of that wall. Climbing on furniture can give access to the edge. You can't be there to police their parenting skills or protect them from themselves. Just warn them of your concerns, put it in writing and back on them. No one wants to intentionally let a child get hurt or not to warned of a possible danger. They don't know what they don't know. Have tgen revisit the property with the child. So you can met all who will live there. If they qualify then it really their choice to agree (knowing) or look for another place. --66.87.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: May 14, 2018 12:17 PM

If you're worried about liability, make sure the 4-ft wall has a steeply slanted cap so the kid won't be inclined to walk on it. Should probably do that regardless --108.69.xxx.xxx

Potential Liability? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: May 14, 2018 12:42 PM

a kid could also run into the street from the rental drive way and get killed by passing car. are you liable. no. it may be surprising to some year but ins cos are the biggest employers of lawyers. why ? cuz they respond to silly stuff every day. it is parent’s job to have what would be a safe place for their kids. not your job to be a parent. some here will state it is an “attractive nuisance” that is a different issue. The parents see your place. they rent. they are responsible. On side note: Embassy Suites has the atrium and yes, some people have fallen over the wall (all built to code) and as far as I know no hotel has been found liable. been in hotel business 30 years. there is concept in law “contributory negligence” .... --166.137.xxx.xx

Potential Liability? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: May 14, 2018 7:06 PM

My lease is really good but all the printed words in the world will not stop a 9 year old from playing Superman or a drunk from leaning over too far.

I’m tall and balcony railings make me nervous because I’m top heavy and a simple stumble could tip me over.

BRAD --68.50.xxx.xxx

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