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Subject: Defining “guest”
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Author Messages
LisaW18
(Delaware)

Posts:1


10/13/2019 8:20 AM  
Our HOA is having problems with an owner who is using our tennis courts as a public facility, meaning that he is bringing in numerous guests from the outside to play on a daily basis, running an informal league. Currently he’s allowed to do this as he can bring in up to three guests. I would like to know if anyone defines “guest”. We are considering limiting guest to mean an owner, renter of the property, or someone staying in the property with the owner or renter, but not just someone who wants to use the facilities because they live nearby. Has anyone ever done something similar and specifically defined who a guest can be?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9034


10/13/2019 8:34 AM  
A guest is someone the owner has invited and is in company of. A renter has some transferred rights to use the amenities if the owner is allowed. Their person invited and in company of would be a "guest" as well.

A person who uses the facility that is NOT invited or in company of an owner/renter is NOT allowed to use the facilities on their own.

Considering how many HOA amenities can go unused and neglected, don't see why having the tennis court being used is an issue. I'd rather have people using the amenity than not. Have seen plenty of deterioting tennis courts that become eyesores.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:767


10/13/2019 9:11 AM  
I think it's reasonable to expect those who are not actually staying on the property (such as renters or overnight visitors) would need to be accompanied by the person who invited them. Rationale: members are usually held responsible for the behavior of their guests, and they can't be responsible if they're nowhere around. For those that complain that this is too much of a burden, remind them that your amenities are not a public facility and that as members of an association, they have obligations to other members to see that the amenities are used properly.

Example: you can bring a friend to go swimming with you, but you can't just hand them your pool pass to use as they chose.

One question about the tennis courts: do people have to pay to use them? If they do, and if the courts are just sitting there, I have less of an issue with the league. If you don't have to pay, then I would have an issue since the amount of wear and tear will likely exceed whatever has been projected into a reserve study.

The other issue I have is that the tennis league is similar to a business that invites clients onto the property - this is often prohibited in HOAs and COAs. A tennis league has more in common with a business than it does with an occasional friendly game with a buddy. It affects the amount of traffic in the community. It invites strangers onto the property, which can (and often does) lead to increased crime rates. It can affect insurance rates as a result of both of these things.

So... I could go either way on this, depending on some of the details. If we were facing a similar issue in my community, we'd run it past our attorney to see if there is something we're overlooking.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3577


10/13/2019 1:40 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/13/2019 9:11 AM
A tennis league has more in common with a business than it does with an occasional friendly game with a buddy.

Maybe. In "Charterhouse Associates v. Valencia Reserve Homeowners Association" the HOA banned a personal trainer hired by a group of homeowners from their fitness center using the argument that the personal trainer was a licensee who could be banned under their rules. A lower court agreed that the HOA could do this because if the guy was getting paid then he was operating a business and while invitees are welcome to use the amenities, businesses are not.

An appeal was filed and the appeals court overturned the lower court's ruling. The court found that, "residents using the fitness center with their guests, regardless if they are providing companionship or workout guidance, are using the facility for its intended recreational purpose." Then they ruled that the ban on personal trainers conflicted with the CC&R’s provision granting access to the fitness center to owners’ invitees. The ban was found to be invalid because it exceeded the scope of the board's authority.

Now, the OP is in a different state and who knows which way the wind blows there, but nevertheless, there's an appellate ruling in at least one state that held a recreational amenity was being used for its indended purpose when residents are there with their guests regardless of whether anyone is getting paid or not.

This could also hinge on the wording of the association's governing documents. I've seen CC&Rs that explicitly define the terms:

Owner
Member
Voting Interest
Tenant
Guest
Visitor
Invitee

... and more. If you're planning to do any of that, be specific!
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9155


10/13/2019 3:52 PM  
Lisa

If the league is informal and he is always there (as in # of guests at one time), he could well be playing by the rules.

Now let us dissect # of guests at one time. Let us say the rules say 3 guests and in tennis there is a foursome playing and he is not one playing, that is one guest to many.

Also does no more than 3 guests mean on the property at once as opposed to some playing and some waiting?

Additionally, are you the locale busybody and no one else sees the issue?
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3581


10/13/2019 5:03 PM  

Considering how many HOA amenities can go unused and neglected, don't see why having the tennis court being used is an issue. I'd rather have people using the amenity than not. Have seen plenty of deterioting tennis courts that become eyesores.




I agree. Personally I've never seen a tennis court "overused" Most sit empty much of the time.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:876


10/13/2019 5:43 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 10/13/2019 5:03 PM

Considering how many HOA amenities can go unused and neglected, don't see why having the tennis court being used is an issue. I'd rather have people using the amenity than not. Have seen plenty of deterioting tennis courts that become eyesores.




I agree. Personally I've never seen a tennis court "overused" Most sit empty much of the time.




Some tennis courts that are unused, people are asking to concert to picklelball courts... word of caution, pickleball is many times louder than racquetball.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


10/13/2019 6:51 PM  
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned insurance liability.

In the OP's shoes, I would seek advice from the HOA's insurance broker.

Quick comment on the case that Geno cited. It involved a physical trainer, someone who is reasonably expected to act professionally and promote safety in his training sessions. In the OP's situation, there are a lot of unknowns like - weather conditions, court conditions, health and skills of participants, lack of oversight, etc. If facts like these were part of a lawsuit, I think a court decision might have gone the other way.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3577


10/13/2019 8:24 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 10/13/2019 5:03 PM

Considering how many HOA amenities can go unused and neglected, don't see why having the tennis court being used is an issue. I'd rather have people using the amenity than not. Have seen plenty of deterioting tennis courts that become eyesores.


I agree. Personally I've never seen a tennis court "overused" Most sit empty much of the time.

I agree with that, too. We have 2 tennis courts that get very little use. We're happy when we see people playing tennis, even though it's usually a homeowner and his/her guests from out of town.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:767


10/14/2019 5:28 AM  
Posted By NpS on 10/13/2019 6:51 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned insurance liability.





I did. :-) I had said that I thought running a tennis league was similar to running a business that invites clients onto the property, with all of the issues that arise from that.

I agree that insurance is often overlooked until something goes wrong and takes everyone by surprise.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


10/14/2019 6:29 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/14/2019 5:28 AM
Posted By NpS on 10/13/2019 6:51 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned insurance liability.





I did. :-) I had said that I thought running a tennis league was similar to running a business that invites clients onto the property, with all of the issues that arise from that.

I agree that insurance is often overlooked until something goes wrong and takes everyone by surprise.



Agree with your Cathy that insurance needs to be well understood before any decision is reached.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:876


10/14/2019 7:47 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/14/2019 5:28 AM
Posted By NpS on 10/13/2019 6:51 PM
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned insurance liability.





I did. :-) I had said that I thought running a tennis league was similar to running a business that invites clients onto the property, with all of the issues that arise from that.

I agree that insurance is often overlooked until something goes wrong and takes everyone by surprise.





Yup!!! This is why liability insurance and D&O insurance premiums are going up.

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/oct/11/tennis-instructor-sues-red-rock-country-club-race/
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