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Mazzeo, Armato Sponsor Bill to Help Homeowner’s Associations Open Pool & Recreation Areas This Summer

Legislation on Assembly Appropriations Agenda Wednesday

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Common Interest Communities (CICs) have shut down shared amenities such as pools, playgrounds, clubhouses, gyms, tennis courts, and other recreation areas.

Legislation to aid these communities in opening up these facilities for their residents this summer sponsored by Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato (D-Atlantic) will be heard tomorrow in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Mazzeo and Armato issued the following statement on the bill:

“While much of the state is reopening and pandemic restrictions are lifted, many of these Common Interest Community (CIC) areas remain closed due to fear that community associations or boards of directors will be held responsible for any spread of COVID-19 in these facilities if they are reopened.

          “Many insurance policies for these communities include a “virus exclusion” that would exempt them from liability insurance coverage for the spread of viruses in their communities. Without insurance coverage, uninsured liability claims related to COVID-19 would put a major financial strain CICs.

          “It’s time to get back to normal and enable residents in these communities to enjoy their summer and the amenities they pay for through their homeowner association fees.”

          The bill (A-4979) would prohibit any causes of action for damages arising from a COVID-19 exposure or transmission on the premises of a planned real estate development.  This immunity would not apply to acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct. Under the bill, community associations would still be required to follow state COVID-19 guidelines for operating facilities such as swimming pools to receive protection.

Eleven states have passed laws granting COVID-19 immunity for community associations (along with other businesses) including Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Utah.