“I live in an estate. While on holiday my house was broken into. I feel that lax security could have been the reason for the break-in. However when I raised this with the Home Owners’ Association they were dismissive and said they had no responsibility for the break in. Is this true?”
A Home Owners’ Association (HOA) is a body comprising of the home owners of a specific estate entrusted by the home owners with the running of the estate and communal affairs of those home owners.
In the recent case of Van der Bijl and Another v Featherbrooke Estate Home Owners’ Association, it was held that a HOA is merely a vehicle by which the home owners of the estate elect to achieve common goals. Accordingly, in the absence of a specific agreement between the Association and its members as to the liability of the Association to protect those residing on the Estate, the Court found no basis for holding that the Association had a duty to protect the home owners or that the law required that the Association should have such a duty.
Therefore, a HOA can only be held liable for the safety and security of its homeowners where it is specifically obligated to do so in its memorandum of incorporation or it has been contractually agreed to by the HOA with a home owner.