Back yard with boat dock -- safety?

2 Replies

Hello,

I just put a lake house on the rental market and someone wrote with the following request:

"Would the owner be willing to put a fence out on the patio for tenants that have kids in the home or be willing to allow a small fence around patio area for safety?"

I would think that they can put anything they won't as long as it can be removed without leaving trace when they vacate the property.

Another concern is whether I can be responsible for any safety accidents.

Thanks!

I had a similar situation where a prospective tenant asked about a fence for their dog. I said I'd contribute $1,000 toward it, and that it had to be a white vinyl fence (aka no chain-link fence). I would have left it up after they moved out as many people in the area have dogs and it would be an asset to the property.

> Another concern is whether I can be responsible for any safety accidents.

You can reduce the risk of losing a lawsuit if you maintain a safe environment, ensure the property is up to code, and address potential safety issues quickly. I don't think putting a fence around a patio to keep kids away from the lake is your responsibility. In fact, if the fence somehow fails, it's possible you might be exposing yourself to more risk. You might want to put in the contract that the tenant is responsible for inspecting the fence and reporting any safety concerns or something like that. But remember that a tenant can always try to sue you, and you should carry liability insurance.

Thanks, John. I think I'll keep it simple, since there is a lot of attention on that property. I'll respond saying that I am not planning to do any changes.