Liability risks are inherent in any business, but sober living homes face unique challenges. As a risk manager, my goal is to provide you with a comprehensive checklist that can help you mitigate these risks effectively.

General Preparation

☐ Consult a Lawyer: Seek legal advice to understand your liabilities and responsibilities under state and local laws.
☐ Insurance Coverage: Ensure you have all necessary insurance policies, including General Liability, Professional Liability, and Property Insurance.
☐ Staff Training: Regularly train staff on company policies, emergency procedures, resident confidentiality, and risk management protocols.

Facility Safety

☐ Safety Inspection: Conduct regular safety inspections to identify potential hazards like loose railings, slippery floors, etc.
☐ Fire Safety: Install fire alarms, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers. Conduct fire drills regularly.
☐ Security Systems: Install surveillance cameras at key points and ensure proper lighting around the premises.


☐ Record-Keeping: Maintain meticulous records of every resident’s stay, including any incidents, issues, or complaints.
☐ Waivers & Agreements: Make sure all residents sign liability waivers, informed consents, and agreements to follow house rules.
☐ Incident Reports: Create a standard procedure for recording any incidents that could potentially result in a claim.

Resident Management

☐ Intake Assessments: Screen residents carefully during intake to assess their compatibility with your facility’s environment.
☐ Medical Records: Safeguard medical records to maintain confidentiality and avoid potential HIPAA violations.
☐ Scheduled Check-ins: Regularly check-in with residents to discuss their experience, any concerns, and to ensure they are following house rules.

Staff Management

☐ Background Checks: Perform thorough background checks on all staff and volunteers.
☐ Confidentiality Training: Train staff on the importance of maintaining resident confidentiality.
☐ Harassment and Discrimination Policies: Educate staff on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and make it clear that violations will not be tolerated.


☐ Billing Records: Keep detailed billing records to prove the validity of any charges, which can help protect against fraud allegations.
☐ transparent Pricing: Clearly list all costs associated with residency, preferably in written contracts.
☐ Audit Preparedness: Maintain all financial records in an audit-ready state.


☐ Dispute Resolution: Establish a clear process for residents and staff to report grievances.
☐ Feedback Mechanism: Create an anonymous channel for residents and staff to provide feedback on any aspect of the facility’s operation.
☐ Community Relations: Maintain open communication with neighbors and the community to address any concerns before they escalate into legal issues.

Ongoing Review

☐ Regular Risk Assessments: Perform routine risk assessments to identify new potential liabilities.
☐ Policy Updates: Keep all internal policies and resident agreements up-to-date.
☐ Legal Updates: Regularly consult with your legal team to update yourself on any changes in laws or regulations affecting your operation.

This checklist is not exhaustive but serves as a foundation for creating a robust risk management strategy. The key is to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to potential liabilities.

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