Many people in Connecticut likely take a very protectionist stance when it comes to their property, especially with real estate. As the saying goes, “A person’s home is their castle.” But, what duty – if any – does a property owner in Connecticut owe to other people?
The quick answer is more than you think. As much as some property owners would like to think that they can do whatever they want on their own property, that really isn’t the case. Property owners owe a duty to other people who may come onto their property, depending on those visitors’ status.
For instance, for invited guests, property owners hold the highest degree of duty. Why? Well, because it is obvious to the property owner that other people will be on the property, so the owner’s duty is to make sure that the property is safe for those invited guests. Shopping malls and other retail centers are perfect examples of this type of duty owed by property owners. These establishments invite others onto the property to shop and purchase goods. So, if there are dangerous conditions present on the property, those issues need to be addressed promptly so that the invited guests are not at risk of harm.
But, on the other end of the spectrum, property owners owe the smallest degree of duty to trespassers onto their property. Property owners have no duty to protect these trespassers from potentially dangerous conditions on the property. In fact, pretty much the only duty that property owners owe to trespassers is to not intentionally cause them harm.