Pokémons are popping up all over the place as part of the latest gaming craze. But while Pokémon Go encourages people to get out and about in the real world to catch these crafty characters, what does it mean for body corporates when Pokémons pop in? Here are tips to ensure virtual Pokémons don’t provide a real-world public liability headache.
In case you missed it
If you’re not familiar with the latest craze to sweep the world, Pokémon Go is a game played on Smartphones using GPS and mapping to enable players to seek out and catch virtual Pokémon characters in real locations.
It’s an exciting new trend that gets people out of the house to exercise, see the local sights and spend money at local businesses.
Pokémons go private
Pokémon Go creators have said players need not trespass onto private property to retrieve characters, but there have been reports of players entering private property. In theory if a character can be seen on your phone screen, you can catch it from anywhere, but it seems that where those characters appear depends upon the user. Here at Select BCM, one of our staff found a Pokémon character in the office, certainly not a public area!
The game also involves players congregating outside properties on footpaths as they conduct their search. For body corporate committees this raises real issues in terms of public liability and the safety of their premises. So what can a body corporate do to protect itself, and should unit owners be concerned?
The first thing to make sure of is that your body corporate has adequate public liability insurance. These days $20 million of Public Liability cover is the recommended minimum.
This is also an opportune time to assess the safety of your property and ensure common areas are up to scratch. This includes auditing the property for potential hazards to visitors and residents, such as lose pavers, tripping hazards and tree limbs which may fall. Then have any possible problems properly dealt with.
Help when needed
If the public are found trespassing on body corporate property, or creating a nuisance while congregating on the footpath, the best approach is to contact the local police station and request someone attend to move them on.
Residents are entitled to be on common property, and so could well play Pokémon Go in and around the property. In this case the usual body corporate by-laws for your building apply, so players should not be causing damage to common property, obstructing or creating a nuisance to other residents.
There are a lot of great assets to a game that gets people up, moving and exploring their local area. However, the Pokémon Go craze reminds us that body corporates need to ensure their common property is adequately insured and a safe place to be when unexpected guests, virtual or real, pop in.