Utah HOAs can breathe a little easier because associations are now protected generally from lawsuits and claims relating to COVID-19. A new Utah law went into effect August 18, 2020, that provides immunity from civil liability for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by an HOA, or during an activity managed by the HOA.
Immunity does not apply if an association purposely does something wrong or is reckless. Specifically, immunity does not apply “to willful misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” The new law is found in Utah Code Section 78B-4-517.
The new law provides some welcome relief from the stress of potential liability for associations, especially because claims relating to communicable diseases and viruses are usually excluded from association insurance policies. However, Utah condominium and community associations with common spaces and amenities should still take precautions regarding the coronavirus, such as social distancing and mask usage as appropriate, signage informing residents that a particular facility is used at their own risk – where appropriate, increased cleaning and disinfecting, and notifying residents when the association learns someone has COVID-19 in the development (but don’t mention specific names, of course).