R.B. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our association has a clubhouse with a room that can be rented out by owners or tenants for gatherings. Renters pay a rental fee and provide a refundable damage deposit. Typically, the room is rented for a baby shower or graduation party, etc… The board member in charge of clubhouse rental has just informed the Board that one Owner is booking every Sunday for church/religious/prayer services. One obvious issue is that this prevents others from booking their parties – but is there anything that we should be concerned about, given the fact that this is a church service event? Does this make the association vulnerable in any way? Thank you for your time.
Mister Condo replies:
R.B., great question! You would need to check with your insurance provider to see if using your association’s clubhouse for church services puts the association at any insurance risk. The primary concern is what you said. Having the clubhouse booked weekly on an ongoing basis prevents other association members and tenants from booking during that time. However, if the governing documents don’t preclude weekly bookings by the same party, there may be little to prevent the member from doing so. I would think that the attendance and parking of cars at your clubhouse could become a problem depending on the size of the weekly services. 10 vehicles may not be a problem, 100 vehicles could be disastrous. Also, if the congregation grows, the capacity of the room could be an issue. Finally, during the ongoing pandemic, concerns of holding any type of gathering and inviting so many folks from outside the community inside the community create its own risk. These are all questions for the Board to ponder and decide if they want to place limits on clubhouse use. For instance, the Board could limit clubhouse use to once per month or once per quarter without denying the vast majority of clubhouse renters the opportunity to do so for their events. All the best!