Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: Can an HOA ban jumpers, bouncers, slides, etc. without it being in the CC&Rs or bylaws? Many HOAs allow owners with children who have parties and hire jumpers to place in the common area.

ANSWER: Yes, they can be banned. When it comes to the common areas, boards have the power to regulate activities. They can do so because governing documents put common areas under HOA control and reducing liability is a key element of a board's duties.

Injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries related to bouncers are on the rise. They estimate more than 100,000 bouncer related injuries were treated in emergency rooms from 2003 to 2013, including 12 deaths. The Child Injury Prevention Alliance noted that inflatable bouncers can lead to broken bones and concussions and estimate that hospital emergency visits are now at "more than 30 children a day, or about one child every 45 minutes."

Liability. If an owner holds a bounce party in his own backyard and a child is injured, the association won't be dragged into the litigation. If the party is in the common areas, the association can be sued even though it was the owner's party. Accordingly, boards have an interest in protecting the association from potential liability related to bouncers.

Rules. Associations don't necessarily need a rule banning bouncers since a list of prohibited activities could be lengthy--no bouncers, no trampolines, no archery, no weapons, no serving alcohol to minors, no dangerous activities, etc. In addition to being lengthy, such restrictions can be difficult to define. Is running across a greenbelt a dangerous activity and therefore banned? Is using a stick to hit a pinata a weapon? Even so, a short list of banned activities may be appropriate.

Recommendation: Associations with common areas that lend themselves to children's events should talk to legal counsel about how best to limit liability for such events. That could include insurance and/or a signed hold harmless/indemnity agreement. In addition, boards can adopt a list of the more dangerous activities they wish to restrict and incorporate it into the reservation agreement so members will know in advance what they can and cannot do. Boards need to be cautious how they word restrictions. Otherwise, they could trigger claims of discrimination against families with children.

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