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Leaving pedestrian gates open creates liability

I want to thank all of my readers who attended the Southern Nevada District Board of Health hearings and expressed our concerns with the proposed pool regulations.

A big thank you for all of the associations who sent in their impact statements to the Southern Nevada Health District. For those of you who attended last Thursday — standing-room-only meeting — you all made a visual as well as a vocal impact upon the commissioners. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I had a commitment in California but I was very confident that you all would lead the charge! And so you did! Your message that associations are private organizations and therefore our aquatic facilities should not be under the jurisdiction of the Health District was heard. And it appears that the board will obtain legal counsel from the state’s attorney general’s office. Bottom line: No changes were made. At this time, our regulations will stay the same. We will keep you all informed of any new developments.

Q: We live in a gated community as many people do. Our gates are open to traffic Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. However, our pedestrian gates are open 24 hours allowing foot traffic, which can be many people. If one of our residents gets attacked by someone who has gained access through these pedestrian gates after 7 p.m. when the vehicle gates are closed, can our association be held responsible?

A: Those same people who are entering the community through the pedestrian gates can easily just drive into your community when the vehicular gates are opened.

The more significant question is why are you allowing the gates to be opened in the first place, both the vehicular and pedestrian? Does that not negate being a gated community?

I thoroughly understand the costs of the continual opening and closing of the gates but the association needs to weigh that cost against a possible personal injury lawsuit. I know that some associations set a time frame to open and close the vehicular gates to correspond with morning and evening traffic but leaving the pedestrian gates opened all of the time is a new one to me.

Can the association be sued? Yes, anyone can sue and in this day and age, people do. Will the association win is another story? The association knows there is a potential that people and property can be injured and damaged by having the gates opened. That leaves the association vulnerable.

Perhaps your association should review its policy with its insurance company and with its legal counsel.

Q: I would like to know why a management company charges us a fee for workman’s comp. We don’t have anyone working on our property. All contractors are to have their own coverage. Is this normal or are we getting ripping off? I was on the board of our homeowners association and I was forced to resign because I questioned the checks that were written out. I was on the board over a year and never signed a check for this. Please let me know so I can let the rest of the board know

A: No, the management company is not “ripping you off.” More and more insurance agents are recommending associations to obtain workers compensation insurance policies. Workers comp policies protect the association in cases where a contractor may have allowed their policy to lapse and a subsequent injury occurs within your community while service work is being performed. The injured employee of a service vendor could come after the association. I won’t go into the complicated details of the state law but in essence, the association becomes the general contractor over its service vendors.

Q: What can our association do about homeowners using fireworks within the community?

A: The board would need to establish a new health and safety rule with a hefty fine. Notice should be sent to all homeowners prior to New Year’s Eve (which is around the corner) and prior to the Fourth of July. Violators need to be reported to the board and or management company.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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