HOA Claims

Homeowners Associations
As a member of a homeowner association (HOA), you have certain duties and obligations to association members and guests, which are outlined in your Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

Most CC&R contracts require you to observe a reasonable duty of care to maintain safe premises, warn members of any known hazards and maintain all common areas, including landscaping, building exteriors, roofs and common-line plumbing pipes.

Most claims against HOAs fall into one of two categories:

  1. Claims by unit owners for maintenance issues
  2. Claims by guests for slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injuries

Liability — that is, legal responsibility for injuries and/or property damage — depends on many factors and varies according to state-specific negligence laws and statutes. The burden of proof in establishing fault will lie with the party presenting the claim.

One of the most common types of claims presented against an HOA is for damages stemming from failure to maintain common areas.

Damages may include property damage, bodily injuries and prevailing-party attorney’s fees.

Liability for these claims is not automatic and depends on certain conditions including:

  1. Did a maintenance issue exist on the property?
  2. If such a condition existed, were you or your representative (property manager) aware of it — or should you have been aware of it — and failed to remedy it?
  3. Did the condition/defect cause the injury or property damage?
  4. Did any other party (landscaper/contractor/unit owner) create the condition?
  5. Was the condition caused by an original construction defect?