Who has liability for neighborhood common areas?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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Who has liability for neighborhood common areas?

We have a neighborhood without any association (and therefore no liability policy in place) for common areas. Several neighbors want to take a small common area that is currently just overgrown weeds and maintain it and put in a basketball hoop and picnic bench. Some neighbors are concerned about liability should someone be injured in the common area. What liability does the neighborhood have for the common areas?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This question is not that easy to answer without seeing the documents in place for the "neighborhood," reading deeds and seeing if there are covenants, etc.  If everything is silent then I would assume that everyone is equally liable and your neighbors may have a valid concern.  This may be the time to form an association with by-laws and rules.  It may be a good time to take the area and create a neighborhood common area for all to enjoy.  Collect money in the form of dues or assessments and buy insurance.  Get help from a real estate attorney that can help draw up the necessary documents.   Good luck.

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