Definition of "Attractive Nuisance"

John Astorino real estate agent

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John Astorinoelite badge icon

Long & Foster Burke/Fairfax Station

In real estate, Attractive Nuisance is how insurance companies classify something that is inherently dangerous and particularly enticing to children. A hazard located within a property that may attract and harm children. It can be an object, a structure or the condition of both. For example: a swimming pool has a strong attraction power to children – especially some special needs children who are fascinated with bodies of water - and could lead to a liability lawsuit against the pool's owner should something happen to the kid in the pool. With or without the serving of an abatement notice, the owner must take all steps to make the necessary nuisance abatement; that is: prevent accidents, such as building an adequate fence around the pool, and, sometimes, even putting up signs warning about the attractive nuisance in question.

The basis that seems to guide the attractive nuisance ordeal is that children might not comprehend the dangers the attractive nuisance represents to them and so the homeowner is responsible for taking care of that if he doesn’t want to be responsible for a possible accident. What that means in practical terms is that there is a sweet spot between the children being mature enough to understand the dangers an attractive nuisance may cause and being able to manipulate/get caught by the attractive nuisance.

For instance: a 13 year old who jumps in a neighboring pool and ends up drowning, hitting his head (or any other damage) will hardly win an argument of attractive nuisance because it’s widely considered that a kid this age is mature enough to understand not only the dangers of a swimming pool; but the sole notion of trespassing. In fact, a reverse suit, where the homeowner sues the kid and the parents for trespassing is more prone to be successful. However, an old rusty abandoned car in the driveway or wooden logs left in the garden are definitely attractive nuisances. The car is always attractive to children; some might naively play hide and seek and hide inside them and cause accidents by depressing the parking brakes if the doors and windows of the car are open. Even if they are not: children can climb them and accidentally cause damages. Same thing with the discarded logs, in which kids might trip and fall or hit each other. So, the homeowner must always be on the lookout to properly discard any possible attractive nuisances within his or her property.

Real Estate Advice:

It might look attractive, but be sure it will be a nuisance to go about any of this by yourself, without the aid of a professional real estate agent. Search through The OFFICIAL Real Estate Agent Directory® now and be on the safe side!

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