FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2020, Atlanta, Ga. – The Atlanta Journal Constitution asked George Nowack, attorney and co-founder of NowackHoward, LLC, for his thoughts on the risks for homeowner and condominium associations that are considering opening pools, as well as other amenities, during the COVID-19 pandemic. With temperatures rising quickly, Atlanta communities are finding themselves caught between homeowners wanting relief and recreation at their community amenities and the possible risk amenity use could establish for those very homeowners, their board of directors and their association. Without clear guidance, associations have been struggling to manage and accommodate.
As of May 14, 2020, HOAs are cleared to open their pool and other amenities, but there still are risks that all boards should be well-informed about as well as more than a dozen new restrictions, in order to meet compliance. Speaking on behalf of NowackHoward, LLC, Nowack offers his perspective and some insight into how the community association firm has been advising its clients who seek to reopen.
While some communities are choosing to reopen, many are not. Nowack has pointed out that we are in unprecedented times for HOAs. For decades, boards have been managing fairly homogenous issues with insurance policies that are designed around those challenges. Very few policies are written that would protect against a suit surrounding COVID-19.
“We’ve never had this in the history of community association law and insurance,” said Nowack. “There’s never been a situation where a board has had to make the decision that they are agreeing to take an action that would open the possibility of an uninsured loss.”
While new legislation is designed to protect the HOA against this sort of suit, it does not render the HOA immune from the cost of a suit. Nowack, and the firm, have repeatedly cautioned HOA boards that the real risk to the association is the cost of defending a suit, even should it be dismissed.
As the summer progresses and Georgia grows hotter and hotter, this issue will continue to plague boards. More protection will be needed and is forthcoming. Meanwhile, boards must diligently comply with state-issued guidelines and continue to maintain close contact with their legal advisors. Avoiding a conflict or a lawsuit will be the best way to weather this chaotic and overwhelming summer in Atlanta.
About George Nowack
George Nowack has dedicated his entire legal career to representing community associations. George is also an expert on Fair Housing Law. He has already successfully defended 68 associations in Fair Housing Act claims, more than any other attorney in the country. An active member of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) since 1982, George was one of the earliest members of Georgia’s CAI Chapter and served as Georgia Chapter President in 1990. With more than 500 articles used in seminars and workshops, George has also written weekly columns on community association issues for the Atlanta Journal & Constitution and the Gainesville Times, and other publications. George and NowackHoward have both earned the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the legal profession’s most prestigious rating service.
About NowackHoward LLC
NowackHoward LLC is Atlanta’s most experienced and effective law firm concentrating in advising and representing homeowner and condominium associations. Lawyers at NowackHoward are among the most experienced attorneys in the United States focusing on this specific area of the law. NowackHoward lawyers have helped write almost every law in Georgia that pertains to condominium and homeowner associations and worked to get them passed, helping create more harmonious communities. With both founding partners receiving the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the legal profession’s most prestigious rating service, NowackHoward has become home to Georgia’s top-rated community association lawyers.