Premises Liability for Community Associations
Articles on the topic of Premises Liability for Community Associations and for Community Association Management Companies
You and your staff should have a risk management strategy set up that covers all of the issues that could lead to liability for the association you manage. One of the big ticket items in terms of liability that your strategy should address is safety hazards in the community. That’s because safety hazards can result in, at best, minor accidents and, at worst, personal injury lawsuits. Here’s how to take reasonable care in a high-risk area.
Last month’s feature touched on the changing face of service animals—that is, nontraditional breeds being used as service dogs, and the ways that associations should handle responsibility and liability if a service dog of any kind happens to bite somebody (see “Keep Restricted Breed Dogs on Short Leash in Community,” February 2013).Although it’s important to speak with your association’s attorney as soon as there’s a request for a service dog that raises safety concerns, you should make sure that members generally understand how to interact with all
If your condominium community uses a fuel-burning appliance such as a gas or oil furnace to heat your building or pool, you need to worry about carbon monoxide (CO), a hazardous material that your members cannot see or smell. Many people die and many more become seriously ill from CO poisoning each year.
At the beginning of every winter season, many associations begin to worry about the possibility of being hit with slip-and-fall lawsuits filed by members or guests. Although it's inevitable that accidents will occur, the association can try to make the community as safe as possible for members and consequently avoid liability for any slip-and-fall accidents.
A playground is a great amenity that may increase property values in your community. Members with small children appreciate the role an outdoor playground plays in children's growth. Playgrounds promote an active, healthy lifestyle and provide a complex social network for kids to learn relationship-building skills. However, a playground can also be a hazard, especially if children are unsupervised or if the equipment is not properly used or maintained. If injuries occur, your association could end up getting sued.
With summer here, it's time to make sure that your community swimming pools are ready for action by checking their safety, insurance coverage, and legal compliance. Many associations do not conduct legal checkups, which is risky considering the number of lawsuits and regulations that exist.
The following is a list of things your association should check to ensure that the community avoids unnecessary risks and weathers any legal storm should an unfortunate accident occur at the pool this summer.
Q A member's washing machine hose burst in the middle of the night, flooding the neighbor's unit and the unit below. Does the condo association have a duty to get involved in a situation like this?