Injured visitors may sue the HOA owners if common areas are deemed unsafe

Injured visitors may sue the HOA owners if common areas are deemed unsafe


Richard D. DeBoest II

Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions. 

Q: I have been elected president of the board of my homeowner’s association. We have signs posted, “Private Property Homeowners and Guests Only,” at the entrances to and around the lakes. We have always taken the attitude that we didn’t want non-members fishing in our lakes and slipping and falling and then suing us.  

We have been asked — in the spirit of neighborly relations by a neighboring association — to allow their residents to fish in our lakes. Is there any legal sign, etc., that we could put up that would allow us to allow them to do this but prevent them the right to sue us if one should slip or and hurt themselves? Thank you. 

A: You can place signs saying, “Use at Your Own Risk,” but this would not relieve the HOA of the obligation to keep the common area lake in a safe condition nor prevent someone from suing you for failure to do so or alleging you failed to do so.  

Similarly, having a person sign a waiver and release of liability to walk on your property, while helpful, will not stop them from suing you and even prevailing if they show you knew of an unsafe condition and did not correct it.  

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