On July 29, 2020, Governor Kemp signed House Bill 1070, which adds a subsection (c) to the insurance coverage provision in the Georgia Condominium Act, O.C.G.A. § 44-3-107.
Senate Bill 359 has become law. We encourage all community associations to place signage at their entrances, amenities and/or building consistent with the language provided for in the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act.
COVID-19 has certainly presented a number of challenges for community associations over the past few months. Regardless of the specific issues coming up, they have no other choice but to continue operating as best and as safely as possible. One way to do this is for boards and property managers to find alternative ways to conduct business and/or present information without in-person meetings.
On June 26, 2020, the Georgia Legislature passed SB 359, which is titled the "Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act." If signed into law by Governor Kemp, SB 359 will provide immunity from liability claims regarding COVID-19 for community associations and other specified entities.
On May 8, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") published additional considerations for public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds during COVID-19. Although most community association pools are not "public" in the traditional sense, the CDC specifically mentioned that the additional considerations were applicable to "public aquatic venues" operated and managed by community associations.
It appears that COVID-19 will unfortunately be hanging around this summer. As such, many boards are now facing the difficult decision of whether to open amenities, especially the community pool.
As we continue to face unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that community associations do their part to mitigate potential risks. One way that boards and property managers can do this is by making a distinction between essential and nonessential common areas and amenities. Temporarily closing and/or limiting access to the nonessential parts of a building or community may help slow the spread of this invisible threat.
On January 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") released guidance for individuals requesting an accommodation for an assistance animals and housing providers (which includes community associations) responding to these requests under the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"). The recent guidance from HUD does not expand or alter housing providers' obligations under the FHA or HUD's implementing regulations.
The new year is in full swing and many community associations already have or are about to select a new board of directors. As new boards start to focus on the year ahead and projects in hand, it is important to understand and recognize the role and responsibilities for each officer on the board.
Whether they know it or not, all condominium unit owners in Georgia have given their associations access rights to their units. This may come as a surprise to new condominium unit owners, but this authority is promulgated by the Georgia Condominium Act, O.C.G.A. § 44-3-70, et seq. (the "Act").