We’ve talked in the past about board members’ general duty to maintain the common elements of their properties. But this responsibility is more than just an aesthetic niceity–landlords and associations can be held liable for saftey hazards on their properties that are the result of improper maintenance.
HOA-Legislate recently posted an article about a $4 million damage award against a community in Denver that failed to maintain a pond near one of the homes. The plaintiffs in the case alleged that the pond was overgrown with algae and became slippery, causing a 3-year-0ld child to slip and drown. Management was found to be negligent for not maintaining the pond.
It’s critical for board members and managers to understand that poor maintenance can have dramatic unintended consequences. Saving a few dollars by failing to repair a cracked sidewalk or loose brick can be catastrophic if someone slips and injures themselves. When deciding whether to maintain a particular portion of the property, always pay special attention to areas that could in any way become a safety hazard for residents or guests.