California real estate law allows the creation of homeowner associations (HOAs) to govern certain types of properties, known as “common interest developments” (CIDs). An HOA is responsible for maintaining a CID’s common areas, and it has the authority to collect fees from homeowners to pay for maintenance. When an HOA negligently fails to maintain a common area, the HOA may be liable for injuries that occur as a result. A recent appellate court decision from New Jersey addressed HOAs’ duty of care to residents and others. It is worth revisiting California law on this issue.
Determining a property owner’s liability for an injury occurring on their premises involves two important distinctions:
– First, did the injured person have permission to be on the property? A property owner owes a minimal duty of care to a trespasser, meaning someone who enters their property without permission.