Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: We have someone that wants to donate a treadmill to us. One board member thinks its a great idea to put it in the recreation room. I say it is a huge liability.

ANSWER: It is a potential liability but not a huge one.

No Risk-Free Environment. It is impossible to be free of risk in an association. If you have common areas, you have risk from sidewalks (trip and falls), lobbies (slip and falls), trees (falling branches), roofs (water leaks), plumbing (water leaks), drain lines (backups), etc.

Weigh & Manage Risk. The more sensible approach is to weigh the risk and benefits. If you have risk with no reward, avoid the risk. If you have low risk and high reward, take the risk. If the risk equals the reward, figure out how to reduce the risk. There are common sense ways to manage risk related to a treadmill. First and foremost, make sure your exercise equipment is covered under your HOA's insurance policy. Second, make sure you properly maintain the equipment by setting up a regular inspection and maintenance program for all equipment. Putting a sign on the wall that equipment is used at the user's own risk offers only limited protection but it can't hurt. Finally, you could have users sign a hold harmless agreement releasing the association from liability in the event the person is injured. For some associations, ensuring that everyone sign a release is manageable. For others, it is impossible.

Insurance. An important consideration is insurance. What will the HOA's insurance carrier allow? Some policies may require the HOA to carry commercial gym equipment.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC