Archive for Condominium law

Condo Insurance Cancelled

So your condo insurance was cancelled.

 

WHY?

Were you issued a legal notice with the proper days notice?

Were you told that you were not being renewed?

Were you cancelled mid stream and during the policy dates?

if you were canceled in the middle of the policy, you either did not keep up with your timely payments, or you did not comply with the terms of the policy. For instance, you may not have signed everything, or you may not have complied with the company recommendations. it is hard for the company to cancel during the term of the policy

If you were cancelled or better yet non renewed, you might ask your agent or company why. most likely, you had claims, or the company became aware of new information that makes the association less attractive, Maybe the company just is getting out of insuring this type of business.

Whatever the reason you are cancelled now is the time to contact your agent, your company, or a new agent. The sin is let coverage lapse.

 

 

property manager as named insured on condominium policy

People and entities being named on someone else’s policy is nothing new. People ask this to transfer the risk to someone else. If you lease a space, you will be asked the name the landlord, if you rent a hall for a party, you will be asked to name the hall as an additional insured.

So be prepared to have the property manager ask you to name them as additional insured.

Beware!  There are ways to do it and ways not to. Be careful to add anyone but your condominium as additional “named” insured. and never list their name first in the named insured section. Do you know who controls the policy and gets paid first? it is the “first named insured on the policy.

It is customary to have the property manager asked to be named on the general liability section, the fidelity ( employee dishonesty ) section or policy, and on the directors and officers policy.

There are so many different ways the companies handle it, you need to read it and be clear. Just because it says additional insured, Please read the fine print.

Most companies have been asked so many time to add the property manager as an additional insured, that they have just gone ahead and baked it into their policy.

Remember also, that the more people you add to the policy, the more people you are defending and covering with your limited limits.

Always read and ask questions

Good Luck!

 

here is a recent article I read from a lawyer on the subject.

 

Condo law

 

Do we need sprinklers in our condominium

The question of do you need sprinklers in your condominium comes up all the time.

I wish I had the answer. The answer lies with you, and also with the law. If you feel that it is in the best interest of the safety of the condo unit owners, then you need them. If it is the law, then you need them.

sprinkler for your condoDo sprinklers save lives. Yes!  Do they save property Maybe! In actuality, sprinklers freeze, leak and inadvertently go off causing water damage. is the risk worth the reward? I think so.

The laws are all over the place. From what I see, they are very specific if you have new construction and or doing a major renovation. Check with your local building inspector before going forward. This can be expensive.

If you are renovating, you might find that the local codes require you to add the sprinkler system in your condo. If so, and you feel that it is not right, you can appeal in most areas.

The appeals board will look at the law, and whether it is reasonable to ask you to do this. If the renovation is for $10,000 and it would require a $60,000 investment in a sprinkler, is that reasonable?. Can it be done? If the project does not include opening the walls, then it may not be reasonable to ask you to do it.

The law looks at standards. The standards are not the same for a 1-3 unit condo as it is for a high rise, and the standards of a nightclub are not the same as a condominium complex.

Good luck!  remember to check your local laws.

Insurance policies on your condominium are a contract

An insurance policy is a contract between you (the condominium association) and your insurer.

You both sign off on the contract. You pay the consideration or the premium for the contract and the Insurance company agrees to pay you when they feel that the contract terms have been met.

So why is there so many arguments over what is covered? The terms are pretty much the same, and almost every line has been reviewed and argued in court. It should be a little more black and white to me.

I just finished reading a judgement on a court case

Salisbury Condominium vs. Travelers

The lengthy case basically says that the unit owners were seeking coverage under a section of the  policy that did not meet the contract. They were looking for coverage under a property claim and a bodily injury claim under the directors and officers section that does not cover those types of claims.

That is a lot of legal mumbo jumbo, but the underlying issue here is that it is a contract with specific terms and you can’t expect to get paid for something that you were not contracted for.

 

the long and short of it is that the court said that Travelers was right and the language was not un ambiguous. Now the next time someone ( unit owners) thinks they are right, They will try it again. The strange part is, that it might have a different outcome.

So WHY is the contract so complicated?

 

Condominium Amenities How they affect your insurance

It is our nature to want stuff. It is natural to want what the other guy has.

So we go out and get it without much thought. We just want it! Just because.

Look in my kitchen to see what I mean. At some point I had an epiphany that came to me and said that I have to have a bread machine, a make your own soda machine, a frydaddy, and a waffle maker. Don’t even get me started on home fitness stuff that my wife had an epiphany about including the thigh buster and the butt cracker.

condo amenitie My point is that as an association we also want things, like a pool, like a playground, like a clubhouse and a guard shack.

We think about the cost, we think about the usage ( always divide that by two or more) But do we ever think about the insurance.

The answer is no.

Let’s look at pools and playgrounds:

  1.  Liability, liability and more liability. Pools should come with a lawyer along with the directions and water.
  2. property insurance- Did anyone think to cover the property? probably not.
  3. Directors and Officers- What happens when the second guesser says ” why did we do this and who made this BAD decision”  Oops!
  4. Likeability- What happens when your insurance company who used to like you, doesn’t like you any more? And if they like you still, you will pay for it for sure.

condo playground The point is that you want it, you have to have it, and you more than likely will get it ( Think thigh master). But, before you do, think about what you will need for insurance, and how it will affect the association.

As always good luck and be smart.

 

Condominium Directors and Officers coverage explained

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Insurance- Condo law Vs Condo Logic

In a recent article from The CAI Law Reporter it was reported that the courts in Florida awarded a condominium amounts outside of the coverage provided by the insurer based on condominium law that states what the condo is required to carry and what they should carry for coverage.

The decision was since turned over, but here is the rub. Are we supposed to carry all the coverage that we are required to on our master deed and cc&r”s? Are we supposed to adhere to the various state codes? Or can a condominium board use logic and judgement to get the best coverage at the most reasonable pricing that fits the budget.

I vote for the latter. let the board decide what is best and reasonable. Although, if you think you need coverage for something, you probably do, so buy it.

In no way do I think a court can make an insurer provide coverage for something that a board did not buy. The court overturning that decision appears to be the right one.

 

 

 

Lawyers review of condominium insurance needs

I subscribe to a number of condominium industry newsletters. One of the best is by industry leader Goodman, Shapiro and Lombardi.

You can subscribe here by going to this link.

GSL is starting a series on what is necessary and what you should have for insurance for your condominium association.

part one, talks about the basics and what you need to get by, and of course what makes you legal.

The highlights in this part include:

  1. insuring your condo association for Property, general liability,energy equipment,flood and directors & officers liability.
  2. What is required by Mass law 183A
  3. What the minimum crime coverage is required.
  4. Not falling into a gap with your unit owners homeowners policy ( HO-6 is the insurance lingo)

Check out their blog and sign up for their newsletter to read the rest of this series on insuring your condominium and your unit.

 

Condominium Deck Collapse

Who is to blame?

 

The condo Law Blog says this:

Wildwood Missouri residents who reside at the Sandalwood Creek Condominium Community need to look up at all times, especially to avoid  collapsing decks.  A deck attached to a residential unit collapsed this past Memorial Day when four people were standing on it.  All four are now in the hospital.

County officials came to the scene to evaluate all of the decks in the community and the news is not good.  It appears they may not meet current code requirements and some news reports report findings that other deck collapses in the community are foreseeable.

The decks are 30 years old and it appears many have not been properly maintained.  Some appear to be rotting.   One news crew found a decks that was visibly sagging, suggesting that it may be next in line.

So –who is responsible to repair these decks?    Of course it depends on state law and the association documents.  But in many instances, the homeowner will be responsible.

The reason is that these decks are often called “limited” common elements.  They are common elements because they fall beyond the “finished walls in.”  But they are “limited,” because only the adjoining unit owner can enjoy them, or in this case fall from them.  In these cases often it is the unit owner who must maintain, and if need be replace, the deck structure.

Some news reports suggest that this is the case in Wildwood Missouri.  But everyone may not agree and ultimately a Court may have to interpret the documents in question.

Who ever is responsible aside, decks must routinely inspected and maintained.  And they must be replaced when they are no longer safe.  Even if common funds will not be used to do this, the Association usually has the inherent right to ensure that this work is undertaken on a regular basis.

Stuart Lieberman Is an attorney with Princeton’s Lieberman & Blecher.    The firm represents community associations in New Jersey and New York.  www.liebermanblecher.com

neighborhood association insurance needs

I live in a condo and we have our own insurance needs.

But what do you need for insurance if you have a neighborhood association?

There are 1000′s of neighborhood associations around the country. These associations bind a community together and create guidelines for living and a place for community involvement.

What are the risks?

  1. people
  2. property
  3. liability

Take for example a urban neighborhood association that forms to bond a 10 block radius of people that own their own homes or units. They band together for a common bond and sense of community.

What do they need for insurance? Let’s assume that they are a serious and real association, with rules, guidelines, officers, meetings and events.

Insurance needs are:

  1. Directors & Officers liability- protecting the board against improper decisions, or claims against them
  2. property insurance- do you have an office, own real property? Then it needs to be protected against fire and theft
  3. liability- Let’s face it, people injure themselves and sue, and you create property damage and people sue you.
  4. Special events- wine tasting parties, block parties, charity functions,dances, and the pancake breakfast. Whether you rent a jumpy trampoline for the kids or not, these events all create a unique liability issue and need to be insured.
  5. Workers compensation- Do you hire anyone? Do you hire a landscaper to mow common area, or do you hire security people. If you hire people, you need workers compensation.