One responsibility of homeowner associations (HOAs) is to maintain common areas of the common interest development in question. HOAs assess dues from homeowners for this maintenance, and the association should use dues to ensure all common areas are kept in a reasonably safe condition for all homeowners and visitors. But what happens when an HOA fails to do so, and someone gets injured?
When HOAs do not meet their duty of care regarding common areas, many accidents can happen and lead to injuries. These might include:
- Slip and falls
- Stairwell falls
- Elevator accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Playground accidents
- Assaults due to inadequate security
When homeowners or invited visitors (people who are not trespassing) suffer injuries in these types of accidents, HOAs might be liable for the losses resulting from the injuries.
Premises Liability Claims
Under premises liability principles, property owners can be held liable when an accident or injury resulted from any of the following forms of negligence:
- Not inspecting the property regularly to identify hazards
- Allowing hazards to persist
- Failing to warn of known hazards that cannot be immediately repaired
When the injured party can demonstrate the HOA engaged in such negligence, they can hold the HOA liable for their injuries.
Failing to maintain the property might be traced back to the HOA directors and their decisions or omissions. However, if directors perform their duties in good faith and do not act in a grossly negligent or willful manner, they can generally be shielded from individual liability. This liability usually falls on the shoulders of the HOA as an organization and not on individuals.
Contact an HOA Lawyer in Los Gatos for Assistance
At Pratt & Associates, our Los Gatos HOA attorneys represent both homeowners and HOAs in a wide range of legal matters, including HOA liability. Contact us online or call 408.369.0800 to discuss your concerns today.