I'd love to add a park/playground to my 20 (now 21 unit) property, (as there are several families there with young children), but I am worried about liability issues. I am thinking something like swings, a slide, etc. Is there a way to do this while legally protecting myself from liability (i.e. having them sign a waiver)?
Here's a photo of the area
(please ignore the bricks/construction items, they were there temporarily during renovations and are being removed).
@Abraham Anderson That's a great question brother! I first want to say salute you for acquiring that property! That's freaking awesome. I personally don't know how to handle this situation because I have never dealt with it but I can offer my advice and opinion for whatever it is worth. Here in SA I haven't seen any apartment communities with playgrounds on them. They have pools, gyms, dog parks and a "study area" but they don't have jungle gyms, slides etc. I don't know this for a fact but I think it may be because of the liability issues you fear may come with them.. However there are very big liabilities with pools such as drowning and slipping so that may not be true of playgrounds. There has to be a reason they aren't common around me though but maybe it is area specific. Are there other apartments in your general vicinity that have playgrounds? Is that a common amenity that is offered to tenants in your area? I don't know your market but just take a look and see what others are doing. Maybe this is something that others aren't doing that you can do which will allow you to bump rents up a little! However maybe other apartment communities don't have playgrounds for a reason. I don't mean to sound negative but use context clues brother! Maybe even take a drive to other apartment complex's and ask the manager or employee about it and see why they do or don't have one. Google the question, or wait to see what people on here know about the issue I'm sure someone on here is bound to have an answer. I would be hesitant to put one in though unless the tenants have brought it up with you, or you truly believe it will add tremendous value to your property. It may just end up being another thing you have to worry about and I'm sure you don't want that. I'll keep my eyes peeled to see what others say because I really am intrigued by this question. Maybe it really isn't as bad as you think and is a great opportunity! In that case awesome job of thinking outside the box and looking to provide value! Good luck and I hope you get your answer!
Thanks for the reply, @Michael Guzik! I am not aware of any apartment communities in the area that have playgrounds (dog parks are much more common). I'm not sure if that's due to liability or lack of demand (as you pointed out, pools have liability and there are lots of them in my market as well).
Every time I visit the property, there are 3 or 4 young kids (under 10) playing outside on the grass, and I would really love to have a playground for them. Hopefully others on the forums can chime in on this topic.
No there is no way to protect yourself from liability. You can not have anyone sign a waiver to exclude you from liability. In addition you can not prevent outsiders from using the equipment. I would very strongly advise you stick to providing rental accommodations and stay out of the playground business. Always remember in this business no good deed ever goes unpunished.
Keep your personal desires out of your business decisions, they will always lead you down the wrong path. If kids want to play their parents can give them a ball.
If you put in the equipment you will have difficulty getting any insurance coverage on your property and if you do it will be very expensive. This is why no one else has play equipment. They know better.
You should anticipate a lawsuit.
@Thomas S. I suspected this, oh well. Very sad that children can't have a swingset because of government bureaucracy.
Not government bureaucracy it is the fact that your citizens are extreamly liticious. Lawsuits are treated like lottery tickets.
I would contact Kelly Thomas, our insurance agent and pose the question to him. We removed an outdated playground in one of our properties in Jeff City, and it was more expensive to insure. I equate it to having a pool, and the pool has a diving board and slide. Insurance companies will charge more for you having these added to the pool, (at least the ones who do their due diligence) You don't want to be caught not listing the playground, then someone gets hurt and the insurance company comes back and states that it was not covered under the policy.
It's a great amenity, but may be costly. I would look into maybe providing a grill area with some picnic tables.
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