HOA Board Member Liability

A listener is on the board of a homeowners association but is worried about liability.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Carmen, a New Jersey listener who is on the Board of an over 55 community’s homeowners association, began to worry because the community has a small park with an unfenced fire pit, and Carmen wondered if someone gets burned, could the board members be sued personally?  Carmen, the answer is yes, but there’s no reason to panic.

When people are injured, they can sue board members individually, but to win, a plaintiff would have to show that the board member acted with negligence, willful misconduct, in bad faith, or outside the board’s authority which, if you’re doing your job with care and good intentions, is really hard to prove.  In addition, homeowners associations should have directors and officers liability insurance which would cover your legal fees so ask if yours has it to make sure you’re not the one playing with fire

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