Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: My mother is 70 years old and has repeatedly asked her HOA to have a brighter light installed outside her door for safety reasons. The current light (a recessed one) is dim and she fears she will either trip or something will happen due to the substandard lighting. She can barely find the keyhole in her door because of the poor lighting. They told her they can't alter the aesthetics of her unit and she should have bought a house if she wanted brighter lighting.

ANSWER: Your board is willing to risk injury to a 70-year-old resident because a brighter light is not as attractive? I doubt that a jury would agree with your board's decision. First, your board does have the power alter the aesthetics of your mother's unit. Second, your directors need to read the California Supreme Court case Frances T. v. Village Green Owners Assn where plaintiff installed extra lighting to protect herself and the board ordered it removed. She was subsequently raped and robbed.

The court concluded that the resident could bring suit against association and its directors for failing to take action to avoid harm and contributing to the risk of injury to residents. The court noted that associations function as landlords in maintaining the common areas and boards have a duty to exercise due care for their residents' safety in those areas under the association's control. Your board needs to re-think its position.

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