To some extent, property owners in California can do what they want with the land that they own. While they may be restricted in terms of zoning ordinances and the covenants of their neighborhoods, a person who owns land has a fair amount of autonomy when it comes to how they use it. However, property owners have a duty to provide safe premises for those who are permitted to be on their land and, in some cases, must also ensure the safety of individuals who may come onto their properties without permission.
When it comes to kids, property owners have a special duty to make safe any “attractive nuisances“ that may be present on their premises. An attractive nuisance is something that would be interesting to a child and that would tempt them to enter the land of another person. For example, a swimming pool may be an attractive nuisance, as may be a piece of equipment, such as something that is used in farming or manufacturing.
When a property features an attractive nuisance, its owner may be liable if a child comes onto the land and is harmed by it. It is generally incumbent upon landowners to identify attractive nuisances on their properties and to take steps to make them safe for any children who may attempt to use them.
Children generally do not understand the dangers that attractive nuisances may present and property owners are often charged with taking proactive steps to protect them from potentially dangerous land features. Understanding premises liability law is crucial for property owners in California.