Is an HOA Responsible for Alligators?

October 26, 2011

It’s no secret that there are often grey areas when it comes to homeowners associations. Often it’s not completely certain who covers contents insurance, for example. Still, it’s not often that an HOA is accused of being responsible when someone is killed by a wild animal.

Nevertheless, that’s what’s happening in Georgia.

The heirs of an 83-year-old woman, Gwyneth Williams, have sued her HOA, The Landings Association, after she was found dead in a lagoon in her suburban Savannah subdivision.

The lagoon in question was also home to an eight-foot-long alligator. Williams’ heirs believe the HOA should have removed the animal.

The Georgia Supreme Court has decided to hear the case.

Earlier, a split Georgia Court of Appeals panel ruled that the golf club and homeowners association may be held liable for damage inflicted by alligators in its lagoons.

It’s unclear whether an alligator killed Williams. Her mangled body was found in one of the lagoons in October 2007.

The club and the association have argued that Williams may have died from a heart attack before encountering the alligator.