Homeowners associations (HOAs) have great powers in marketing, selling and managing residential subdivisions. The more amenities a homeowner association has, the more attractive it will be to potential residents. Having specific amenities can even allow the association to raise their HOA rates.
One way of increasing the attractiveness of an HOA is by adding a common area health club. This club could include saunas, showers, gym equipment and even hot tubs. The advantages of adding this amenity are numerous, but it does not come without a few possible liabilities. Knowing all of the rules, advantages and disadvantages of a common area health club will allow an HOA to properly weigh the costs and benefits before investing in such a large amenity.
Having an on-site health club carries several advantages. The property values of the homes related to this club will assuredly rise, allowing the homeowners association to raise its HOA dues. Though there will, of course, be new expenses, the additional fees can also be put toward other positive endeavors that can raise property values. Some people would wonder if the higher dues would dissuade some from buying into the HOA, but in all likelihood a health club can do just the opposite.
Health clubs are becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. People are finally realizing that active lifestyles can save them a host of health problems in the future. Some states have seen over a 100% rise in health club memberships since the new millennia. This is a sign that people are beginning to take better care of themselves, and if they have the option to pay a little more in HOA dues to have a health club at home, they are likely to jump at the opportunity.
Having an onsite health club does carry with it some possible risks. Any injuries sustained in the club may very well be placed in the lap of the HOA. Even having the liability waiver in the HOA membership agreement, a California court recently found that this waiver doesn’t prevent a person from bringing forward a negligence claim.
Liability waivers may help in some cases, but absence of negligence is going to be a HOA’s best defense in any liability claims against them. Equipment should be properly maintained at all times, with service records maintained. One HOA recently faced civil liability because someone had allowed gum to get stuck to a treadmill; not having been cleaned in a timely manner, a member’s resulting injury landed the HOA in civil court.
There are a few things an HOA should consider before bringing in aspects of a health club. One is that these facilities will likely be available twenty-four hours, but they are not likely to be staffed at all times. This means that everything should be done to ensure all equipment is absolutely safe to use and spaced properly to give plenty of room to move about. Faulty equipment should be shut down and repaired or removed as soon as possible.
One way to waive potential liability is to hire a corporate entity to manage the health club facilities; this can be done through your professional management company. A full time attendant may seem unnecessary, however having watchful eyes on the area during all open hours could make the difference between a mishap and a serious injury and lawsuit.
Having a common area owned health club can be a great addition to any homeowners association. It certainly makes your community stand out in a crowd, attracts those interested in a healthy lifestyle and of course raises property values substantially. Whether you’re considering adding a health club to your common areas, or purchasing a home in a community that includes one – you’re about to add tremendous opportunities for enjoyment to your wise investment.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/neeta_lind/2517026291/