The state of California requires all property owners to use reasonable care in the ownership and maintenance of their property. Visitors to a property can be broken up into:
Invitees have a landowner’s express or implied permission to be on their property. Invitees are typically friends, relatives, or neighbors. These individuals, due to the fact that they have been invited onto a property, are owed the greatest duty of care. Therefore, in the event of an accident, a landlord will almost certainly be held liable. Liability will of course be affected depending on whether an injured individual played any relevant role in causing an accident.
Licensees have a landowner’s express or implied permission to be on their property. The difference is that licensees are on a property for their own purposes. Salespeople, for example, are licensees. Property owners usually owe licensees less of a duty of care than their invitees. However, property owners still must do everything in their power to warn licensees of any hazardous conditions if:
- the landowner is aware of a hazardous condition, and
- a licensee is unlikely to discover that hazard on their own
Trespassers are not authorized on a property and have no legal reason to be there. Property owners generally don’t owe trespassers any duty of care, unless that trespasser is a child.