J.R. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can a condominium require a homeowner to get the COVID vaccine to use its pool facilities? If a condo denies use of the pool can a homeowner get a reduction of HOA fees?
Mister Condo replies:
J.R., two great questions! Let’s start with the second one first because it is easier. No, you cannot get a reduction in common fees because the pool isn’t open. The association doesn’t charge you a fee to use the pool. The association pays for pool maintenance and upkeep as part of its annual budget. You contribute to the annual budget via common fees. Just because the pool is closed doesn’t mean it isn’t still a budget item or that any homeowner is excused from paying for it. In fact, if you withhold or don’t pay your common fees, your association can, and likely will, put you into collections, or worse, have the association attorney lien and even foreclose on your home. In other words, pay your fees!As for the requirement of a COVID vaccination to use pool facilities, I have a different answer. First, the association should check with their attorney before implementing such a requirement. I would think we’re treading very closely to civil liberties by requiring proof of vaccination. I could see having folks sign a waiver that they are not ill as well as temperature checks, social distancing, and face mask requirements for use of the amenity but, in my opinion, requiring proof of vaccination is one step too far. The reality is we will likely talk about our world pre-COVID and post-COVID. Many states are enacting laws that limit the liability for condominiums and HOAs with regards to how the disease is transmitted. If there are enough protections in place for the association, there may be no need for such Draconian measures. However, until that time arrives, it wouldn’t surprise me to see an association attempt a COVID vaccination requirement for folks to use the amenities. It will likely take a few lawsuits to determine whether or not it is an allowable practice. Thank you for the questions. All the best!