Homeowner associations are getting sued: 3 reasons why
NEW YORK – Oct. 31, 2018 – Issues related to drone usage, image copyrights and mold have increased the risk of litigation for HOAs, according to national insurer USI Insurance Services.
Some residents have sued condo boards that used drones to snap photos of buildings because they also took pictures of their units' interiors from outside their windows. Community associations may use drones to collect information on the conditions of roofs and common grounds, but they need to be careful, Marvin Nodiff, an attorney in St. Louis, told The Washington Post.
"Associations should protect against potential impacts as drones become more popular for commercial and other uses," Nodiff says. Benny L. Kass, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., advises that boards adopt rules to regulate, control, and monitor who can use a drone and when.
HOAs are also facing copyright issues more frequently. HOAs offering free movie nights to foster a sense of community, for example – such as with big blowup screens on lawns – may infringe on copyright law by showing a licensed movie. This can also occur when playing music at events.
The fines can be steep, rising up to $150,000, Kass notes. The national Community Association Institute offers guidance to HOAs on curtailing copyright issues.
The USI report also cautions that mold is a growing issue among HOAs.
"Damage from mold is specifically excluded in most standard property insurance policies," according to USI. HOAs must address water problems and clean up mold promptly, USI says.
Source: "Three New Headaches for Homeowner Associations," The Washington Post (Oct. 26, 2018)
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