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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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next doors children keep playing in my garden without my permission

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next doors children keep playing in my garden without my permission (usually when I'm at work. Am I liable if they hurt themselves on my garden furniture??
Thank you
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Have you asked their parents to make them stop?

Is this normal garden furniture please?
Actually, don't worry. I see what you are asking.

Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 you have a duty to keep trespassers on your property safe from harm. The act was originally intended to stop people laying traps for burglars however the effect is that even a trespasser can now claim for negligence if the injured as a result of anything on your property.

There is also a common law duty to take extra care if you know children are involved.

You are already aware that these children are doing this and therefore you are under a duty to make sure that there are no hazards which would harm children. I do not think that extends to doing anything that a prudent homeowner would normally do and if this is just normal garden furniture, I do not think that even if the children are running around in the garden, and injured themselves on ordinary type furniture, there is any claim.

What I would do however is point this out to the neighbour and point out your concerns that whilst they are unsupervised, they may injure themselves and you are of course concerned for your own liability but more for the children’s safety so as the parents if they can please keep their children out of your garden. That passes the onus back on to the parents.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for that comprehensive reply. I have asked them not to play in my garden but will reiterate in stronger terms. However, I have only been in the house 3 weeks and have just ordered garden table and chairs. The table has a (safety) glass top. In theory a child could climb on it and if it breaks they could bleed out and die before anyone finds them. Should I change my choice of furniture??

It is important that you emphasise this to the parents. You cannot possibly cover every single eventuality and if they decide that they are going to do something like this which in the normal scale of events could not possibly be foreseen, I cannot see how you could be held responsible for that damage.

If it is safety glass, it would obviously shatter into tiny pieces which cause only minor cuts.

It could possibly be different if it was not safety glass but I think that provided you have put the parents on written notice you would escape liability
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