CA DAY is approaching. After being called off for the last two years it will be held on March 12 all day at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. You can read all about it on www.sevacai.org. An excellent day of information and interaction is planned. Mike Inman and Jeanne Lauer are presenters in two of the morning sessions. Mike is teamed up with Peter Miller and Kellie Dickerson to discuss various issues and new board responsibilities arising from the disastrous condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida last year. Jeanne will be teamed up with other attorneys to engage with the audience about a variety of legal topics. Over 50 business partners will be in booths to discuss their offerings to association boards and members.
Now let’s talk risk management and security. About a year ago an Arlington mid-rise condo had an unwelcome visitor. The problem is no one did anything about it. A man found his way past security measures and gained access to the building. He knocked on a couple doors posing a maintenance man who they did not recognize. He was turned away and 2 unit owners notified the front desk personnel. They did not take any action. Upon trying a third time he was successful in being admitted to the unit and severely injured the resident. The family of the injured owner made a claim against the Association. A law suit was filed and the Association tried to get the case dismissed arguing there was no duty breached. The judge disagreed and ruled that the security measures provided by the Association created an expectation of a certain level of scrutiny of unauthorized persons being on the property, especially after being alerted to the situation. The judge said the staff should have taken action to attempt to locate and remove the apparently unauthorized individual.
This court case and the collapse of the building in Florida raises the issue of risk management for associations. This is a significant concern of any board of directors. In order to take it seriously a formal committee within any association of significant size needs to be appointed to formulate the areas of risk responsibility, such as safety of persons and property as well as the association common elements. This should involve meeting with the association’s insurance advisor periodically. Initially the committee’s areas of responsibility need to be defined – they should include risk control, risk financing (insurance or other means), claims management, and evaluation of new proposals for insurance coverage.
We hope to see you on CA Day to discuss this topic and many others.
The Community Associations Law Team
Michael A. Inman
Jeanne S. Lauer
Gregory J. Montero
Robert V. Timms, Jr.
Matthew J. Weinberg