Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, wills & estate planning, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
The question shouldn’t be, “do you have a pool” but rather “do you have an attractive nuisance in your backyard?” It’s no surprise that in a warm state such as Texas where we have an envious 232 sunny days per year as opposed to the national average of 202 days, pools are commonplace. Families love this hallmark staple of premier luxury outdoor living. There’s something about the alluring nature of a clear, blue body of water that invokes feelings of a paradise getaway or tropic vacation. However, a lesser-known fact about a pool in Texas is that it falls under the “attractive nuisance” doctrine.
What is an Attrative Nuisance?
“Attractive nuisance” is a legal term that assumes a child does not have the ability to distinguish between what is safe and what isn’t. It holds property owners responsible for failing to prevent a child from reaching something dangerous that they might think would be fun to explore. Essentially, an attractive nuisance describes a hazardous element on your property that is attractive to children. It is something that will naturally catch a child’s eye, such as a swimming pool without a cover or a homemade roller coaster. An attractive nuisance is something that kids can’t help but interact with, even if it means trespassing on your property.
More specifically, the attractive nuisance doctrine states the following: Children don’t understand the danger, a person can understand if a child might trespass onto their property, and property owners are liable for injuries children to sustain because of a failure to follow these concepts. Age is one of the most important factors of a Texas attractive nuisance claim. A child trespasser must be of an age that they wouldn’t understand the dangers associated with something.
For example, a three-year-old child would not understand the risks associated with jumping into a pool unsupervised. So, it’s the property owner’s duty to ensure that a pool is inaccessible to young children. For example, many homeowners erect a fence with a lock around their pool or cover the pool with a tightly fitted tarp to prevent anyone from falling in.
Texas premises liability laws require property owners to provide reasonable care to all people who enter their property. In other words, property owners must make sure their property is safe for visitors who are expected to use it. Attractive nuisance is part of these laws, and it requires property owners to make sure that a child is safe, whether they’re invited to the property or not (as is the case with a trespasser).
Examples of an Attractive Nuisance?
Texas law states that an attractive nuisance is anything that is a dangerous and artificial feature of a property. Therefore, it’s unlikely that a natural lake would be considered an attractive nuisance while something man-made like a pool would be. However, if a child is able to get into an apartment complex’s pool and drown, it’s likely that property owners or management will be liable for the death because of the concept of attractive nuisance. This is because it’s reasonable for the management to expect that children will be near the pool.
Other commonly found features that could be an attractive nuisance include the following:
- pools & spas
- ladders & scaffolding
- farm equipment
- tree house, bounce house
- play ground equipment including a swing set
- exotic pet
- abandoned automobile
What is the Property Owner’s Responsibility in Texas?
Property owners might assume they do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. After all, trespassers are people you did not invite onto your property and who do not have a legal right to be there. However, there is a major exception to this rule that all property owners should know: Children are exempt from the rule. All property owners in Texas owe a standard of care to trespassing children and must keep their premises reasonably safe. Regarding attractive nuisance, an explicit age range has not been defined for what constitutes a “child.” However, in most cases where the attractive nuisance claim has been used, the majority of child plaintiffs have been younger than 12. Having an attractive nuisance on your property without taking steps to prevent harm to trespassing children can mean you’ve broken this rule.
Young children cannot appreciate the risks that some objects, such as swimming pools, may pose. Therefore, the courts cannot hold them responsible for injuries relating to hazardous objects, especially if the object is a common attractive nuisance. Instead, the courts will hold the adult in charge of the property responsible for the child’s injuries. When in doubt, invest in non-climbable fencing around your property or around the attractive nuisance. Taking measures to prevent trespassing children from sustaining injuries can protect you as a property owner.
As you case see the laws in Texas are quite strict regarding attractive nuisances and homeowners need to be aware of their responsibilities. When in doubt, contact an experienced real estate attorney for legal advice.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?