Premises Liability for Community Associations

Articles on the topic of Premises Liability for Community Associations and for Community Association Management Companies

Association Swimming Pools: To Lifeguard or Not to Lifeguard?

The conundrum of whether to provide lifeguards is real. “It creates an interesting debate within boards, and not everyone agrees,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s not a bright-line issue with easy answers.” Here are some of the factors you should make sure your…

Record Requests Can Be a Pain, But Compliance Is Often Required

Owner record requests can prove a hassle for managers and their clients, but courts clearly favor greater access to less — let alone the denial of access. An association in Michigan learned this lesson the hard way when confronted with requests that even the state Supreme Court described as “longwinded” and “often difficult to follow.”…

Record Inspection Request Requires Rapid Response — Even if Request Rambles

Owner record requests can prove a hassle for managers and their clients, but courts clearly favor greater access to less — let alone the denial of access. An association in Michigan learned this lesson the hard way when confronted with requests that even the state Supreme Court described as “longwinded” and “often difficult to follow”…

Repeat Offender Dog Can Be Asked To Leave, Court Concludes

A California HOA’s governing documents supported its board’s decision to order the removal of a dog with a history of injuring both humans and other dogs. “I love this case because it supports an association’s right to enforce its covenants by requiring removal of a dog,” says Sandra Gottlieb, a founding partner of California homeowner…

Court Upholds Board’s Nuisance-Based Removal of Dangerous Dog

A California HOA’s governing documents supported its board’s decision to order the removal of a dog with a history of injuring both humans and other dogs (Sunset Green Homeowners Ass’n v. Spagenski). “I love this case because it supports an association’s right to enforce its covenants by requiring removal of a dog,” says Sandra Gottlieb,…

‘Residential Use’ Restriction Prohibits STRs

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that regular weekly rentals violated an HOA’s residential use restriction, in a case we first covered in 2020 (Cherry Home Ass’n v. Baker). The decision is a potentially promising development in the ongoing battle against short-term rentals. Owners’ Arguments Shot Down — Twice The case involved a community…

When Sharing Across Communities Creates Conflict Rather Than Cohesion

When multiple associations share amenities or common areas through a master association, frictions can arise. Master associations come in different flavors, but Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with numerous community associations, says he usually sees them when multiple “sub-associations” in the same geographic vicinity share certain common…

Building Sound Foundations: Lessons from Surfside

Building Sound Foundations: Lessons from Surfside

The June 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., made headlines around the world — and thrust many issues that plague condo and other community associations into the spotlight. The catastrophe, its causes, and its effects already are the subject of intense study, evaluation, and discussion.

“I think the collapse going to have an impact for a long time,” says Ken Bertolucci, president of NS Management in Skokie, Ill.

If a “bright side” can be found, it’s that many associations and boards across the country have had a wake-up call and now are more open than ever to some of the basic — but sometimes costly — practices they should have been implementing all along.

“This tragedy has now become the trigger for all the things we’ve been harping on for years but that have fallen on deaf ears,” says Paul Grucza, director of education and client development at the Seattle-based management company CWD Group, Inc. “It took this to make associations stop, re-think, and adjust.”

In this special report, we explore five issues that your clients may have a new, or renewed, interest in and identify some of the particular areas where they may need to take immediate action to protect themselves and others. We also provide best practices to help them get on track.

Fearful boards are looking to their managers for their expertise and insights in the wake of Surfside. We hope this report helps you beat their expectations.

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Avoid the Potential Pitfalls of Sharing Common Areas Among Communities

When multiple associations share amenities or common areas through a master association, frictions can arise. Our experts have some ideas for preempting those through effective negotiation. How It Happens Master associations come in different flavors, but Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with numerous community associations, says he…

Drones Will Soon Be Flying Over Your Properties on a Regular Basis: What Are the Implications?

The number of drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles) in the air overhead has been climbing steadily in recent years. If your client associations aren’t already dealing with the implications of both commercial and recreational drone usage, they probably will be soon. “Drone usage will be commonplace in the coming decade,” says community association…