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Did You Know? A Homeowner's Responsibilities for Social Guests on Their Premises


Under New Jersey law, a social guest is someone invited to his/her host’s premises. The social guest must accept the premises of his/her host as he/she finds them. In other words, the host has no obligation to make his/her home safer for his/her guest than for himself/herself. The host also is not required to inspect his/her premises to discover defects, which might cause injury to his/her guest.

If, however, the host knows or has reason to know of some artificial or natural condition on the premises which could pose an unreasonable risk of harm to his/her guest and that his/her guest could not be reasonably expected to discover it, the owner/occupier owes the social guest a duty to exercise reasonable care to make the condition safe or to give warning to his/her guest of its presence and of the risk involved.


In other words, although a social guest is required to accept the premises as the host maintains them, he/she is entitled to the host’s knowledge of dangerous conditions on the premises. On the other hand, where the guest knows or has reason to know of the condition and the risk involved and nevertheless enters or remains on the premises, the host cannot be held liable for the accident.

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