Minimize your rental risks

Gymnastics rings empty gym

Many clubs rent their facilities to groups for community events. Unfortunately, some events result in disastrous situations for the club. At one club, the event leader brought alcohol to sell, and the club did not have a liquor license. Another club held a wedding where alcohol was served, and local gang members shot a guest in the parking lot. In another case, a club hosted a child’s birthday party, and a parent was paralyzed when he fell from gymnastics equipment that was supposed to be off-limits.

Renting your club exposes your organization to liability and claims of negligence, in addition to potential damage to your reputation.

Tips to help you to protect your organization from liability and claims of negligence:

  • Define the responsibilities and obligations of each party in a clearly written, signed contract. The contract should indemnify and hold harmless the club. Ideally, the group should provide proof of insurance with the club listed as an additional insured.
  • Carefully consider the occupancy limit for the visiting group and potential parking issues.
  • Prohibit alcohol on the premises.
  • Clearly restrict areas of the club that should be inaccessible during the event, and consider hiring a security guard.
  • Don’t ignore the potential for child molestation offenders within the rental group. Will the presence of your staff reduce the potential? Will their presence bring added responsibility to the club? Staff the event with personnel who are equipped to address this issue, as well as other behavioral problems.
  • Consider the safety level of the surrounding community. While club members might be aware of potential dangers, outside groups may not. Include a list of suggested safety precautions in the contract, if necessary. Remember to cover personal, property, and vehicle safety guidelines.
Even if your club is not responsible for an injury, proving so legally could cost thousands of dollars and tarnish your reputation. Carefully review your group rental policies and discuss issues that could arise with your insurance agent.

Gymnastics rings empty gym
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.