Individuals who buy land and develop it for residential or commercial purposes have a fair amount of discretion regarding what they choose to put on their properties. While they generally must comply with zoning regulations and other restrictive rules that may govern land use in their areas, they can often decide where, how and when to build on the land that they own.
Some individuals may choose to put certain features on their properties for their own personal use and enjoyment, such as swimming pools or decorative structures. While these features may not be dangerous when used in a safe and appropriate manner, they may become hazards when individuals, particularly children, attempt to enter them without appropriate training or care.
A property feature that may entice a child to enter it and that may cause that child harm may be considered an attractive nuisance. The law does not presume that children will understand the dangers of certain property features, and therefore liability shifts to property owners when they know or should know that children could be drawn to their potentially dangerous property features.
Property owners can take steps to protect themselves from attractive nuisance claims by following local laws and ensuring that access to their properties is limited. Fences, barriers and other obstructive walls may prevent children from accessing potential attractive nuisances and causing themselves harm. Readers who have concerns about possible attractive nuisances on their properties can contact their local land use attorneys. Individual legal guidance should be sought from attorneys in the field as this post does not offer any advice to its readers.