How to stop Halloween from turning into a legal nightmare

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:43 30 October 2017

Halloween is a time of worry for some homeowners

Halloween is a time of worry for some homeowners

This content is subject to copyright.

Fears about trick or treaters damaging property can spoil Halloween for homeowners.

Simon Roberts of DAS Law addresses some of their key concerns:

If a ‘trick’ goes bad, can you recover repair costs from the parents?

Generally speaking, parents are responsible for supervising their children but are not liable for the acts of their children and cannot be directly responsible for damage they may cause to your property.

So you would ordinarily have to take civil action against the child as there is no minimum age at which a child can be held to be negligent - this would entirely depend on the circumstances and their understanding. But this may not be a realistic way forward as a child is unlikely to have assets to pursue for damages, so it would be preferable to hold the parents responsible if possible.

Parents are responsible for ensuring their children are supervised in certain circumstances, although this will vary depending their age i.e. older children are less likely to require supervision as they will have a greater responsibility for their own actions.

Therefore, the other option is to consider would be whether it may be possible to sue the parents in negligence for failing to supervise or, if they did supervise at the time, for failing to control their children. This, of course, would be dependent on proving the elements of negligence.

How far are you allowed to go to stop a child from playing ‘tricks’ on you and your property?

A landowner is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their land and to protection from any unlawful interference with their use or enjoyment of it. If you are in fear for your safety and/or harassed, then you should contact the police as these are criminal matters.

From a civil point of view, it could be argued that a regular stream of people invading your property whilst ‘trick or treating’ would amount to a legal nuisance.

Normally, you could look at legal action and remedies such as damages and an injunction. If nuisance is proved, a key question would be who could an injunction be taken out against? Due to the transient nature of the nuisance, it would be difficult to bring a claim against a one-time offender as would be the case with Halloween.

However, if someone persistently posed a nuisance, then it would be more likely to succeed in a claim against them for trespass or nuisance.

I would advise against any physical interactions and, as above, if the situation escalates you should report the matter to the police.

What can you threaten or can you physically intervene if an act of vandalism is taking place on your property by a minor?

Any damage to property is potentially a criminal offence and you could threaten to report the perpetrator to the police. Further, you could also seek to take a civil claim for damages to compensate you and put you back in the position you were before the damage.

I would advise against any physical interactions as the situation could escalate. If you assault a child, this could be reported to the police and it may be difficult to justify whether this response was reasonable in the circumstances and you could risk criminal sanctions.

Related articles

Latest South Hertfordshire Property News

Fri, 14:32

St Albans homeowners are being urged to bring their price expectations in line with the current climate in order to secure a swift sale.

Read more
Fri, 08:48

Following the closure of two mental health hospitals in the 1990s, the Highfield area of St Albans has evolved into a safe, suburban neighbourhood that is hugely popular with families.

Read more
Thu, 11:27

Whether you’ve stopped buying paper books or can’t stop buying them, you’ll probably have some overflowing shelves somewhere in your home. What should you do if your collection’s taking up too much space?

Read more
Wed, 13:00

Positioned on a private and secluded plot, this imposing family home offers substantial and impeccably-presented accommodation arranged over four floors.

Read more
Wed, 08:06

From pumpkin farms to fallen leaves, our columnist has been enjoying all that autumn has to offer...

Read more
Tue, 13:40

We’re a nation of landline-using, bathroom carpet-owners who haven’t updated our homes in years, new research has revealed.

Read more
Tue, 11:23

As any country-wide property-watcher can confirm, most parts of The North are vastly more affordable than Hertfordshire. Having just spent a lovely weekend in Leeds, I’m wondering why.

Read more
Mon, 09:42

A house in St Albans was one of Zoopla’s most viewed property listings during October.

Read more
Friday, November 10, 2017

Situated to the north-west of Harpenden, Kinsbourne Green is a peaceful hamlet with its own distinct identity.

Read more
Thursday, November 9, 2017

After much speculation, interest rates went up last week for the first time in more than 10 years.

Read more
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tenants are leaving London in record numbers, priced out by the rising cost of renting - and more and more are coming to St Albans.

Read more
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This substantial Grade II listed character home is located in the heart of St Albans’ old conservation area.

Read more
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Temperatures have taken a chilly turn, and as we dig out our hats and scarves we should spare a thought for the effect the cold may have on our homes and gardens.

Read more
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Excellent schools and sought-after streets are just two of the things residents love about the Marshalswick area of St Albans.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Continued pressure on housing means garden developments are becoming increasingly common. However, before you start the work there are some key legal issues you’ll need to consider.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Vegetable oil could become the heating of choice for more than 4,000 Hertfordshire homes by 2022, according to a new report on the future of rural heating.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Shrubs producing a feast of vibrant berries could be just the boost a drab winter garden needs, says Hannah Stephenson.

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

Bonfire Night should be an enjoyable occasion, but with flames and fireworks in the mix things can easily get out of hand.

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

The season of all things spooky is now over, and it’s been interesting to see how increasingly willing we are to embrace it in – and, for that matter, on – our homes.

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Christmas is coming and Alison Wildon and Karen Francis of LifeWorks are helping homeowners get their properties prepped and ready in time for the big day.

Read more
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

This six-bed detached home is packed with features, including three en-suites, 
a games room and a double garage that could easily be used as guest or au pair accommodation.

Read more
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Alastair Woodgate, director of St Albans and Watford-based chartered surveyors Rumball Sedgwick, gets to the root of the problem.

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Does the thought of living on Coffin Close or Deadman’s Lane send a shiver down your spine?

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New affordable homes are to be built in St Albans for local people in housing need.

Read more
Monday, October 30, 2017

Fears about trick or treaters damaging property can spoil Halloween for homeowners.

Read more
Monday, October 30, 2017

Lenders have been raising their fixed mortgage rates in recent weeks – but it’s still possible to get a good deal. Vicky Shaw found out how...

Read more
Friday, October 27, 2017

October 31 is less than a week away, and Gabrielle Fagan is getting organised by dipping into a witch’s brew of interiors tricks and treats

Read more
Friday, October 27, 2017

A charming village filled with beautiful buildings, there’s lots to like about Markyate.

Read more
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

St Agnells Farm is an attractive residential holding with an impressive Grade II listed manor farmhouse, located on the northern outskirts of Redbourn.

Read more
Monday, October 23, 2017

We all love to judge the house-buying decisions of others, which may explain the interest in our recent feature on St Albans’ most prestigious streets.

Read more

HERTS AD PROPERTY E-EDITION

Image
Read the Herts Ad Property e-edition E-edition

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Get the latest St Albans and Harpenden property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

MOST READ

search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder