Between the outside and inside, there are a lot of places where accidents can happen. Use our guide as a checklist to make sure you’re keeping track of all potential condo liabilities.
Common Condo Liabilities
- Parking Lot: A lot of older condominiums still have the original pavement, which has built up potholes and a variety of cracks over time. Water likes to collect in crevices and freeze as the temperature drops, which creates a huge slip and fall hazard for your association. The “reasonableness” standard stipulated by the Supreme Court back in 2010 makes it easier for unit owners to make negligence claims against the association. Before, the burden to tread carefully rested on the unit owners. This change increases the likelihood for associations to be found responsible for slip and fall injuries. Bottom line, be sure to repave those parking lots, remove snow in a timely manner, and be mindful of any slippery liability.
- Fireplaces: Many units have wood-burning fireplaces, which obviously pose a fire hazard. When fire spreads and burns multiple units, who pays for the damages can get rather dicey. To avoid these situations, hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean all fireplaces once a year. If you don’t, the soot can build up inside the chimney and create an internal fire.
- Water Heaters and Machines: A recent water damage claim involved a washing machine with a burst hose that flooded the laundry room and the surrounding units at 22 gallons per minute. The damage exceeded the amount insured under the HOA’s policy, which caused the unit owners to get charged an assessment to recoup the lost funds. While accidents happen, putting protective measures in place like installing burst-resistant hoses or replacing water heaters once every five years helps reduce these liabilities from occurring.
- Pools: A huge liability during the summer months. Pools that are not well-regulated pose a significant risk for injuries and drowning, particularly for small children. Any association should have clear rules and restrictions in place that are adopted by the board and enforced by the management company.
- Deferred Maintenance: Everything comes down to budget. Sometimes maintenance is deferred to make way for other expenses. It makes sense at the time, but how would you feel if the old fuse boxes caught fire or the aged plumbing started to leak? Keeping your building up to code removes hazards and may have a positive effect on your insurance premiums
Do you have the proper safeguards in place to protect yourself from future liability claims? Assess your association and don’t hesitate to call Brendon Kilcoyne at 617-612-6504 to put the financial puzzle piece in place.