Summer barbecues, kids’ birthdays, it seems to be one social engagement after another at the moment. And before we know it, it will be time for Thanksgiving, New Year and a whole new type of party season.
Hosting a party can be hard work, but it is usually worth the effort. However, anyone who has watched Judge Judy will be only too well aware that inviting people into your home, particularly children, or parents of your kids’ friends whom you might not know well, can be fraught with risk.
As the owner of the property, you have a responsibility to the safety and security of your guests and their property. All you want to do is give everyone a good time, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions – or no good deed goes unpunished, just choose your favorite aphorism. Let’s take a look at some simple ways to protect yourself from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune when hosting a party.
Make people take responsibility
Some people can be incredibly careless when they think something is not their responsibility. Picture the scene – ten cars pull up in your yard, ten excited kids join yours for a party, ten parents you vaguely know hover on the periphery. As they all go to leave, one of the parents angrily reports that their purse has disappeared from the car.
You shouldn’t have to tell people that it makes sense to lock their cars, but that’s human nature – because the car is on your yard, they suddenly think it’s your problem not theirs. For the price of a simple sign from myparkingsign, you can make sure everyone is reminded to take responsibility for their own property. It could be the wisest $20-30 you ever spend.
Check for obvious hazards
Getting the guests to take responsibility is one thing, but as the host, you have some responsibilities of your own. The law says that if there is a defect or hazard that you are aware of and that is not obvious to guests, you have a legal obligation to protect them.
For example, if there is a broken step or rotten boards on the decking, you must either replace it or cordon the area off. Got swings in the garden? Ensure they are in good working order before visiting kids injure themselves on them.
A pool is great for a party, but brings whole new areas of risk. Make sure it is supervised, and keep in mind that in some states a fence around the pool is a legal requirement. Where kids are involved, make sure parents are aware of their responsibilities as well as yours. And even if the party is adults-only, you still have a responsibility for the safety of your guests.
The demon drink
Many of us like a few drinks at a party, and there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation. But if someone gets intoxicated and injures themselves or someone else, you could face liability – particularly if you were the one pouring the drinks. Keep an eye on your guests, and if anyone has a little too much to drink, don’t give them any more and take appropriate action such as calling them a cab and deterring them from driving.