Pokémon Go has taken America by storm.
But if you're perhaps one of the few people who haven't heard yet about the popular video game app that has been in the news recently, here's a refresher: Pokémon Go lets smartphone users explore their cityscapes, capture adorable-but-wild monsters in prison balls, and then unleash them at each other to fight until comatose.
While the game has become a craze of sorts, there are a couple of things to consider. For instance, could there be any safety issues therein as pertains to the app's use in condominiums, cooperatives, or homeowner's associations? And could there potentially be cause for a board to regulate use of the app, should it be found that the game is responsible for people to mill about a property at all hours or non-residents to trespass—all in pursuit of some elusive critter?
Get Off My Land
"For entrepreneurs and businesses looking to attract customers, there might be some opportunity to capitalize off this phenomenon; to attract traffic or customers," postulates Matthew J. Leeds, a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of Ganfer & Shore, LLP. "But for residential condominiums and co-ops, there is none of that. To the extent that non-residents will be pursuing these animated characters and feel compelled to enter a property, residents, doormen and staff should just treat these people like any other uninvited guest or trespasser, and exclude them."
Jeff Singer, CFO of Solstice Residential Group, LLC in Manhattan, concurs: "The game is great for business, but not so much for communities seeking isolation. The three basic elements to the game all arguably encourage trespassing and loitering. Walking around chasing Pokémon can lead the user to property that is off-limits, and sometimes people don't respect that. We're seeing it in cemeteries, police stations and other cultural sites. In Manhattan buildings, however, it's not as much of an issue, because you can access anything game-related from outside of a property via your in-app avatar's radius. But on a larger property, you may need to drive onto the grounds to access something, and people may be encouraged to do so even if they knowingly do not belong there."