Board members often ask me about potential liability to the Association stemming from maintaining or adding a playground on Common Property. Frequently, they assume that the Association will automatically be held liable if anyone gets hurt on the playground equipment. Fortunately, that is not the case. Georgia Code Section 51-3-23 protects the owners of property used for recreational purposes from liability. That Section provides that the owner of land who permits the use of the property for recreational purposes does not guarantee the premises are safe for any purpose or create any duty of care for the landowner. In other words, a person uses recreational facilities at their own risk.
There are two types of homeowners associations (generally subdivisions) in Georgia—- those that are subject to the Property Owners Association Act (POAA) and those that are not. Associations not subject to the POAA are known as common law homeowners associations. The members of a common law association can vote to amend their declaration to submit to the terms of the POAA.
Common law associations who do not adopt the POAA are subject to O.C.G.A. 44-5-60 (d) (4). That statute provides that covenants imposing greater restrictions on the use of land cannot be enforced against a property owner without that owner’s consent. That means that if an amendment is adopted by the vote of the number of members required by a declaration, the amendment can be enforced only against the owners who consented to the adoption of the use restriction. That is not the situation with the POAA. Amendments approved by the required number of members apply to all owners, not just those that voted in favor of the use restriction.
With the number of feature films and television shows filmed in the Atlanta metropolitan area in the recent past, Atlanta is quickly earning the nickname the “Hollywood of the South.” And, as movie and television producers look for new Atlanta area locations in which to film, they are increasingly turning to local condominium and homeowner associations to provide an authentic backdrop to their productions.
While the prospect of having your association featured on the big (or little) screen is an exciting one, as any Hollywood star knows, having a solid contract in place before filming begins is key to making sure that your association gets the most out of its “star” turn. Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind if Hollywood comes calling for your association: