Home Safety and Outdoor Areas

As a homeowner, you are responsible for the safety of all the property that belongs to your home. This includes yards, walkways, and driveways. These must be maintained not only for the safety of your own family (especially children), but also for the health of guests and service people that enter your premises. If you are a condominium owner, your homeowner’s association should spell out what responsibilities you have toward grounds upkeep and condo insurance.

Some safety issues are merely common sense. Walkways and thresholds should be kept clear of clutter and should be well lit. Walking surfaces should be maintained and repaired if damaged. Stairs must be wide enough and have an appropriate steepness so that children and elderly guests can use them. They should also have sturdy handrails if they lead to areas of necessity like house entrances and exits.

Household pets can be a nuisance to neighbors and potentially harmful to strangers. Dogs that are allowed to roam off of a leash should be in enclosed areas with sturdy fences. Warnings should be in place if the dog is a threat to adults or children. Trees and plants on your property are also your responsibility. Dead branches can be a danger to neighboring property. Trees should be trimmed regularly as a courtesy to neighbors. Some areas have regulations for lawn growth and plants.

Responsibility for garbage cans also rests with the homeowner. Such receptacles should be securely fastened to keep animals or young children from spilling dangerous materials. Larger pieces of garbage should be stored out of sight until the day of pick up. Many municipalities have rules concerning what can and cannot be stored in outdoor spaces.