Newark, DE asked in Real Estate Law for Delaware

Q: Can a HOA board go so far as to say children can not climb trees, ride bikes, or play in the neighborhood?

We have common property, basicly a huge grassy lot with a big boulder and a tree. For years the kids have been climbing on both but I received a phone call from the "board" telling me my children can't climb on the tree because its common property and if they got hurt they would be responsible... can they do that? We received a newsletter stating the development was not made for bikes and open areas that children should play at near by parks!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Snyderman
Charles Snyderman
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Licensed in Delaware

A: You use the abbreviation HOA, but it sounds like you are dealing with a maintenance corporation rather than a homeowner's association. An attorney will have to review the deed restrictions for your community, but I can tell you that maintenance corporations carry liability insurance in case someone gets injured. Besides, if your child was injured climbing the tree, there would be no liability unless there was negligence (for example, a branch was obviously dead and was left there rather than being removed).

Without knowing more, my initial reaction is that children can climb on the boulder and the tree.

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