If you host a party at your home and serve liquor to a guest who causes an auto collision, you could be sued. If a courier slips, trips and falls while on your property, you could be liable. Risk management tips can help you prevent worst-case scenarios.

Keeping Things Safe and Sound At Home

As a homeowner, you're responsible for keeping your property and areas such as stairs, walkways and driveways reasonably safe for people who use them. You may be held liable for slips, trips and falls if you fail to keep your property free from hazards.

Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Before a courier, babysitter, delivery person or repair technician visits or you host an event at your home, address common hazards by:

  1. Using salt, shovel and/or sand to keep walking surfaces clear of ice and snow within bylaw timeframes or best practices that dictate when snow clearing should be completed
  2. Fixing unexpected elevation changes, surface cracks or gaps within your property line and/or report issues on municipally-owned property such as uneven sidewalks
  3. Putting a non-slip covering over slippery surfaces such as wet floors or tile flooring
  4. Repairing loose handrails on stairs or installing missing handrails
  5. Removing any debris – such as slippery and wet fall leaves – on walking paths
  6. Ensuring all areas are adequately lit

Hosting a Party and Serving Alcohol?

You may be responsible for your guests' actions if you serve people past the point of intoxication on your property. Hosting a backyard wedding with several dozen or more guests increases the possibility of you not being able to monitor all alcohol consumption.

Tips for Limiting Alcohol Consumption

Today, the legal threshold for intoxication is lower and courts now hold people who serve alcohol to their friends and guests on their property more accountable. Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, you may be held responsible for your guests' behaviour – even after they leave your property – if you serve them alcohol. Consider the following before you serve alcohol to guests:

  1. Ask people when they arrive if they are a designated driver
  2. Ensure many non-alcoholic beverages and food options are available
  3. One hour before you anticipate guests will leave, stop serving alcohol and start serving coffee, tea or water
  4. Have cash on hand for cabs and/or an extra bedroom made up for last-minute overnight guests
  5. Keep watch and don't hesitate to ask for someone's keys if you have concerns about their ability to drive