First, allow me to respond to what was not asked. I do not recommend allowing this “club” to proceed in the clubhouse. There is potential liability of the Association as the owner of the property for any injuries that occur to those in attendance. If, however, the Association does allow it, I would suggest ensuring sufficient insurance coverage.
And now for the question that was asked. Can the group act as a “club”. Perhaps. Unless it has a separate legal existence, it is merely a group of residents gathering and using the Association clubhouse – which still leaves the Association potentially liable for any injuries. If it is a separate legal group, then it should be required to obtain its own insurance and sign a document agreeing to indemnify the Association for any injuries or damage to the clubhouse. Of course, if the club is a separate legal entity, then the Association is potentially deemed to be renting out the clubhouse to non-residents and may be required to rent it to other non-residents too (or face a discrimination suit).
In sum, I would suggest not proceeding with the bottle club.
Sara A. Austin
Austin Law Firm LLC
226 E. Market St.
York, PA 17403
Some Associations with clubhouses have an unused bar or cafe and have installed lockers where residents can store Alcohol. Many residents see this as a perk. Before any alcohol is allowed or a club sanctioned, there are several steps that need to be taken:
The Association’s attorney should carefully review the Governing Documents to make sure that alcohol is permitted in the clubhouse. If the documents specifically prohibit alcohol, an amendment may be needed.
If a bartender is added to the mix, a liquor license may be required by the town. Check on the local regulations before putting anything in place.
Check with your insurance agent. Your insurance policy may need to be amended to include serving alcohol.
Follow the rules for clubs that have been created in the community. Is it necessary to join a club to have access to this room or an alcohol locker? After all the legwork is complete, the final decisions are lifestyle decisions for the community.
Mary Faith Nugiel
RCP Management Company
10 Centre Dr
Monroe Township, NJ 08831-1564