Urgent Guidance for Community Associations Regarding Property Inspections and Preparation
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LEGAL ALERT // Urgent Guidance for Community Associations Regarding Property Inspections and Preparation
As the tragedy in Surfside continues to develop, like many around the country, we are struck by the senseless loss of lives. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families in this time of incomprehensible loss. When lives are at stake, be that in a condominium tower or a multi-level office building, there is no greater responsibility to look after than the safety of those who dwell, gather, or work there.
Accordingly, our guidance to community associations is urgent and clear: All communities with any buildings, structures or amenities where a volume of people may gather or dwell need to plan now to thoroughly inspect their properties.
In our experience, volunteer board members may not always fully understand the scope of their obligations and fiduciary responsibilities, and are unlikely to have the level of training to understand the nuances of inspection, property maintenance, and upkeep. For guidance, a condo or HOA board may lean on or defer to licensed community association managers (CAMs) who represent the association’s property management company (under contract at the sole discretion of the board) to help make important decisions. CAMs liaise between the management company and the association’s board, but the board is the true governing body and may be culpable for issues that arise from the management of the association. As such, volunteer board members must be very aware of the obligations and responsibilities required to make sure they are playing an active role in compliance and risk mitigation:
- Volunteer board members must be educated on and fully understand their obligations and responsibilities as members of the association’s governing body, with the ultimate responsibility of safeguarding human life.
- The Board must ensure its inspection and maintenance protocols adhere to a legally defensible and agreed-upon strategy.
- The Board must set a plan to remediate or otherwise address any issues that arise through inspection as promptly and swiftly as possible.
- The Board should develop a continuity plan for ongoing upkeep and maintenance as structures age to stay in front of issues.
If you are a CAM, property management company, or a volunteer board member seeking guidance, assistance, or with concerns about an association you work with, we can help. Besides our experience in helping community associations navigate the laws of developing, forming, operating and regulating their communities safely, we also serve clients in all phases of their construction projects and real estate deals. To connect with us today, call 904-389-0050 or email us.
Our simple Community Risk Assessment will provide information that will help an interested party understand some of the important factors that lead to increased levels of exposure within a particular condominium or homeowners association.