HOAs sending out releases and waivers as pools open to avoid being blamed for COVID-19

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Homeowners associations are sending out releases and waivers, letting residents know that commonly used amenities are opening but that using such amenities comes at the homeowners’ risk.

“I think because we are members here and pay our dues that we are entitled to swim and use,” said Mary James Charles who was using one of the pools at Willoughby Station in Mt. Juliet Thursday.

Willoughby Station, managed by Timmons Properties opened recently with several new rules due to COVID-19 including a sign-in sheet, sign-out sheet, limited hours and limited capacity. In addition, the Willoughby Station HOA board sent out a notice that read:

“All residents are making a personal decision to enter at your own risk and understand that Willoughby Station including the HOA is to be held harmless.”

“The HOA is doing their due diligence,” said Eliot Ovsiew, who was also swimming Thursday.

Willoughby Station is not alone. Before you swim, other HOA’s are asking residents to sign a waiver, asking homeowners to assume all risk and responsibility for any and all exposure and risk to COVID-19, including death.

“I think it’s more so just setting a line, drawing a line in the sand saying ‘you’re here at your own risk, you know, we don’t know much about COVID, we’re doing what we can to protect you, but you’re abundantly aware of this risk, we’re not making any representation that just because we’re open you’re safe. We’re open at your own peril if you come join us,'” ​said local attorney Ben Powers.

While some HOAs avoid responsibility, others are asking residents to sign admitting to good health.

“I’ll take personal responsibility for what I do whether it be here or out in public so I wouldn’t want to hold anyone accountable anyway,” said Lisa Cox, another member at Willoughby Station. ​

As for the legality of these statements, releases, and waivers, Powers says it depends on the waiver.

“Some may be too broad in what they agree to waive, some may be too narrow, others may be just fine,” said Powers, “Each one has to depend on the language in the waiver itself, that’s why I would always recommend having an attorney knowledgeable in this area to review that waiver for you so you know what you’re giving up.”

Timmons Properties declined to comment.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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