QUESTION: Our condominium association allows the consumption of alcohol at the pool/spa. People bring coolers filled with beer. What liability do we have in the event someone is injured while intoxicated at the pool? The board is reluctant to restrict alcohol because it would be unpopular with owners.
ANSWER: In addition to impaired judgment caused by alcohol consumption, there is the risk of injury from broken glass. If an alcohol related injury or death occurs in your pool or spa, the association will almost certainly be sued. Even if the association is ultimately found not liable for the injury/death, the claim can drive up insurance rates.
Searching Coolers. Most associations prohibit the consumption of alcohol around the pool. If necessary, HOAs can either prohibit coolers in the pool area or search coolers brought to the pool to make sure only non-alcoholic beverages in non-glass containers are brought into the area. Doing so is not an invasion of privacy. Sports stadiums, concert venues, and airports inspect backpacks, coolers and luggage every day without violating the law. If someone refuses to open a cooler, they can leave it outside the pool gate.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.