Trip hazards
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TRIP HAZARDS

Associations are responsible for repairing the common areas. This obligation is found in an association's governing documents and in the Davis-Stirling Act. (Civ. Code §4775) However, boards are not obligated to fix trivial defects that may exist in the common areas.

It is impossible for landowners to maintain heavily traveled surfaces in a perfect condition and that minor defects, such as cracks, are inevitable. The court held owners are not liable for damages caused by a minor, trivial or insignificant defects. Josephine Caloroso v. Larry Hathaway (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 922.

Defects in walkways are trivial where the separation is 3/4 to 7/8 of an inch in depth (plus other factors). (Cadam v. Somerset Gardens.)

Recommendation: Even though associations are not liable for trivial defects in their sidewalks, parking lots, etc., they should nonetheless regularly inspect the development and keep the common areas in a safe condition. That sometimes requires the removal of trees where roots are lifting sidewalks.

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

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