Sometimes bad things happen to good Associations… a fire or flood destroys several units, and the repair costs are huge. Even if the problem can be narrowed down to negligence by a single owner, you’d be surprised to learn that the Association’s master policy might be required to cover the entire expense. What can an Association do to protect itself? Here are 5 practical steps an association can take to protect the property and the residents:
1. Review and update maintenance standards regularly.
Unit owners should be performing routine, preventative maintenance to their units, just as any homeower does. Checking the water heater for leaks is simple, no cost, and can prevent huge amounts of damage.
2. Perform a yearly review of the Association’s master insurance policy.
Connecticut law currently requires that the master policy cover the costs of clean-up and restoration, while the owner is responsible for their personal items in the unit.
3. Make certain everyone is insured.
Owners need to carry HO-6 Homeowners Insurance equal to the Association’s master policy deductible. Their tenants should carry insurance as well. This will help the Association at least recover the deductible amount if a situation occurs.
4. Take on responsibility of performing tasks in high-risk areas.
Yearly inspections and cleaning of dryers vents and chimneys should be required, and built into common charges or billed back to each owner to ensure compliance.
5. Reinforce the importance of preventative maintenance with owners on a regular basis.
This can be done with newsletters, emails, website updates and covered at annual meetings.
Floods, fires and other disasters can occur anywhere, without warning. It is the responsibility of the Board and manager to eliminate as many dangers as possible.