Homeowners associations are increasingly common across the country, ranging from heavily planned communities to more simple arrangements between neighbors. If you run or are involved with operating a HOA, understanding community association liability is essential for protecting the assets of the HOA and its members.
Who Is Liable For Accidents or Injuries on HOA-Maintained Premises?
The answer to this question may actually vary quite a bit depending on the nature and structure of a specific homeowners association.
In general, homeowners associations are only responsible to a reasonable degree for incidents that occur on their property. HOA obligations may include safely maintaining roads, sidewalks, or other public locations, in accordance with the structure of a given association.
What Potential Injuries or Accidents Can Occur?
Having a realistic sense of possible incidents is essential to determining potential community association liability risks. Often, relevant incidents may involve unmaintained surfaces: accidents on icy or unplowed roads, falls on broken sidewalks, injuries on unsafe playgrounds, and similar occurences.
Any HOA should consult with an experienced insurer to discuss potential liabilities and work to develop an insurance policy that is sufficiently protective in the event of an incident. An experienced insurer may also be able to enact effective risk management practices, or help draft HOA structural language, that effectively delineates what constitutes community association liability.