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Maintain Now to Prevent Future Liability

Summer is a great time in Florida. It means warmer weather, outdoor grilling, family vacations, lounging by the pool, and tans. It also means increased humidity, mosquitos, sun burn, and more need for air conditioning. For Associations it is a time not for relaxing but for checking their properties and continuing with their maintenance and repair “To Do” lists.

Maintenance and repairs should always be ongoing in a community as one item in need of repair can cause a domino effect of issues. Take, for example, that beautiful fountain near the bench and grassy area of your community with the soothing sound of water and the lit-from within glow that allows you to relax on a Saturday evening. If the light on fountain is broken it could result in an area which is darker than normal placing a person at risk of theft or assault. In such an instance, the Association may be also of negligent security. That same fountain, whose light is not working properly, may actually have a problem with its motor or pump. This could cause the water to stop circulating properly allowing mosquitos to breed and spread disease. The zika virus is still an all too real concern for many. The faulty pump may at times however over circulate or over fill the fountain causing water to splash and accumulate outside the fountain. This creates a hazard from someone walking by. If the person slips and falls because the floor was wet the Association would be subject to a lawsuit. The liability would likely be greater if the faulty bulb made the area darker making it harder to see the puddle.

Active summer maintenance will help avoid the scenario set forth above. It will also help with any hurricane or casualty related insurance claims which may come up. Many insurance companies want to deny coverage claiming damage from something other than casualty, such as wear and tear or poor maintenance. Showing on-going property inspections and work to maintain and repair the property will help the Association’s attorney combat the insurance company’s coverage denial and may help to increase the amount of insurance proceeds recovered even should the claim not be denied outright.

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