A condominium corporation will always have situations in mind which can increase risks to the board and the community. Effective condo management requires having knowledge of all the involved risks and exposure and taking adequate steps to manage such situations or prevent any unwanted incidences. So what are these different risks? This guide provides you an insight into the most concerning risks and exposure that a condo corporation faces.
Safe Common Elements
According to law, it is the condo corporation that is considered as the occupier of all the common elements on the property. It is required by law to take care of these common premises. It is also responsible for the safety of anyone entering the common premises. In fact, the corporation is also held responsible for any of the assets that someone may bring on the property. It is the duty of the corporation to ensure that anyone on the premises remains safe at all times. Thus, the corporation carries one of the biggest risks in managing a condominium.
The hazards posed to the people can be due to the condition of the property or due to any activity that may be carried out on it. The corporation is responsible for both these types of risks. It should take all the essential steps for ensuring the safety of everyone on the common elements. The users can include:
Contractor Liability Insurance
When a condo corporation hires the services of contractors, it is important that the company or person have their own liability insurance. It should cover the independent contractor or the employee. Without liability insurance, the corporation will be at risk if any damages are made to the property during the contract work.
At the same time the contractor should also have their employees or independent contractors covered under workers’ comp. If anyone gets injured during a contract work, the condo corporation shouldn’t be held liable for it. This can also protect the corporation from any lawsuits from contractors or their workers.
Besides the common elements, condo corporations are also regarded as unit owners when it comes to fire hazard and safety. They should take essential steps ensuring that all units are complying with the regulatory fire code. This can involve installation of fire alarm systems and smoke detectors in all the units and the common premises. The corporation will also be required to maintain the fire safety systems to ensure that they remain functional.
This can require the condo corporation to conduct periodic inspections of all the units. They should also ensure that all the units and common areas have the minimum required number of smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.
Meeting OHSA Requirements
Besides the above-mentioned risks and exposure, the condo is also required to develop a reliable occupational health and safety policy. It is recommended to exceed the requirements of basic safety policies laid down by the OHSA. Corporations can invest in a more elaborate policy. If the condo corporation fails to meets the OHSA requirements, it can attract fines and penalties. Even the directors and condo managers can be subject to such penalties. The laws have become stricter more recently. It is important to consult your legal counsel, engineer and/or condo management company to develop a more comprehensive health and safety policy that protects you against potential lawsuits or fines.
It is also recommended to do take protective steps to reduce risks and exposure in all kinds of activities. If any unique activities are taking place on the property, check with your legal counsel to ensure that they are also covered. For example, dance classes are typically not covered under the corporation’s insurance policy. So consider all these risks and exposure when creating a comprehensive policy.
Author is an experienced Calgary condominium management executive with over a decade of experience. He recommends drafting a comprehensive policy in consultation with a condo management company to ensure maximum protection against risks and exposure.
April 22, 2017