Question about Decks and Liabilities

3 Replies

We have a property in the Smokies with 3 separate decks overlooking a valley below with mountain views. Gorgeous! But...

It's a 30+ foot drop from the lowest deck to the ground, and that ground goes .3 miles down a steep, wooded hill. While our deck and railings are secure, I constantly fear someone might do something foolish -- or worse, a child might do something naively -- and fall.

What is the best way to help communicate safety to guests, and what are steps I should take to minimize liability should something happen?

Hi @Chris Rackley , it seems like a prudent move to have:

  • This guidance as part of your House Rules - physically on site
  • This guidance as part of your Digital Material that guests have even before arrival
  • A notice of "care needed" or "please be careful" on site around the railing.

There might be some other needed from a legal standpoint, but some version of ^^ should serve to sufficiently cast an awareness for caution.

Originally posted by @Chris Rackley :

We have a property in the Smokies with 3 separate decks overlooking a valley below with mountain views. Gorgeous! But...

It's a 30+ foot drop from the lowest deck to the ground, and that ground goes .3 miles down a steep, wooded hill. While our deck and railings are secure, I constantly fear someone might do something foolish -- or worse, a child might do something naively -- and fall.

What is the best way to help communicate safety to guests, and what are steps I should take to minimize liability should something happen?

 A big fireman's net under the deck :)

In all seriousness, that's pretty common out here. When you live on the side of mountains everything is a long fall. Good secure railings, fixing anything that's broken, and good insurance. 

Chris, we have a the same issue with a number of our cabins. Will and JD make great points about having signage and proper maintenance. I also make every guest sign a waiver of liability prior to their check in date. I created a template through an e-sign platform (Docusign and Hellosign both work), and the link is still automatically when each reservation is booked so it's a seamless experience for the guest and my customer support staff. I hope this helps! I definitely worry about this alot as well as the outdoor pool at the resort!