Anti vandal paint

I wonder if you would be able togive some advice on this matter.  We've had our enries secuurity gated last year. Some residents would like anti vandal paint put on the top of gates to deter people climbing over.  We'll have to erect clear notice each side of gate informing of the anti vandal paint

Getting conflicting advice on the following:-

1.  Could residents be sued if someone climbs over and damaged their clothing also if they injured themselves

2.  Also been told that each and every resident would have to sign document agreeing to the anti vandal paint

3.  If someone does sue, that person could sue just one resident?

Thank you.


Yvonne Whilst Anti vandal


Whilst Anti vandal paint seems a sensible idea it does come with some risks and responsibilities. Trespassers, even those up to no good, have rights.Someone who falls from a gate made slippery by anti vandal paint might seek to hold all of the householders, who are served by the entries, collectively and individually responsible.

Please see my article at  if there is a hazard of which you are aware and would not be immediately obvious to a trespasser you are under a duty to inform them. Warning signs and their continued maintenance are an absolute must.

One should not assume that intruders are necessarily up to no good , whilst the public might have no sympathy with a burglar who falls, consider how enticing gates are to children, or the possibility of an adult climbing over to retrieve a mis shot football. You might also be considering not just a twisted ankle or broken arm but serious head or spinal injury.

If you are going to use anti vandal paint you should get everyone's agreement, which might present difficulties  when the residents change and make sure you are insured. Your household insurance companies will be none too pleased to find they are asked to pay potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds to a young child who is injured by a hazard you created but did not tell them about and  might refuse cover.

It would also be an idea to liaise with your Neighbourhood Police team whose contact details are usually found on the Local force website 

Richard Paremain

Profile: Personal injury specialist solicitor with Sarginsons Law LLP. I have more than 20 years experience involving both minor injury and cases with injury of the utmost severity. This has ranged from the Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster to a pavement trip for a Mrs Gready.I have a special interest in compensation for the Victims of Crime through the Criminal Injuries scheme. 02476521081

Anti Vandal Paint

Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 an occupier has a duty of care to take such care as in all circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that a visitor will be reasonably safe in using premises.

This protection was extended by Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to trespassers.

An occupier is not defined but courts have held an occupier to be a person who exercises an element of control over premises. 

In your case this definition could apply to all residents.

A trespasser is "someone who goes onto land without invitation of any sort and whose presence is either unknown to the proprietor or if known is practically objected to". 

The Act outlined three conditions that must be satisfied for the duty to arise in respect of trespassers.

1.   The occupier must be aware of the danger or have reasonable grounds to believe that it exists.

2.  The occupier knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that a trespasser is in the vicinity of the danger, and,

3.   The risk is one against which in all circumstances the occupier may reasonably be expected to offer some protection.

If, therefore, you do decide to use anti vandal paint then there should be clear warning notices which are sufficient to enable a trespasser to be reasonably safe.

You may think that you have entered into a nightmare world where everything is turned on its head.  You may well be right. 

Last year I heard of a case in Scotland where a council left the lights on in a disused school for 24 hours a day because they feared anyone breaking in might injure themselves and sue them for damages.

To answer your question specifically:

1.   In theory yes

2.   I think this would be prudent.

3.   All residents could be sued if they were held to be occupiers.

If the proposal goes ahead you may care to investigate the possibility of insurance to cover any possible claims.

Profile: I joined Sarginsons from university as an articled clerk in 1970. I am now the managing partner and have wide experience in all aspects of the law normally dealt with in private practice. I believe that a modern high street practice must adapt to the hefty demands of clients and deliver it's services according to the clients wishes.

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