Routine property inspections are a vital part of managing inherent risks in a homeowners or condo association. Ensuring timely and high-quality inspections increases the level of safety for the residents, lowers the risk of expensive repairs and costly lawsuits, and protects property values throughout the community.
Own property in a homeowners or condo association? Have questions about inspections? We have the answers – read on to learn more.
Why are condo association inspections necessary?
Regular inspections will keep the association on top of security risks, maintenance issues, and building problems. Routine inspections will also:
- Add to the overall safety, health, and welfare of association members, their guests, and others in the community. An especially significant liability risk for associations is slip-and-fall accidents. Frequent inspections of the driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots can help reduce these risks.
- Detect problems early before they get worse. Worsening conditions and deterioration of common-area amenities can be expensive to repair; a little preventative maintenance will go a long way.
- Help reduce seasonal risks. Along with new seasons come new risks and the need to conduct season-specific inspections of common areas. Chlorine levels in pools need monitoring in the summer, leaf buildup needs clearing in the fall, and in the winter, everything needs to be cleared of snow and ice, from sidewalks to fire hydrants.
- Show the homeowners or condo association’s insurance carrier that they are proactive in addressing vulnerabilities, mitigating risk, and reducing loss.
Can the condo or homeowners association inspect my unit?
While common areas are the most obvious places for the association to inspect, sometimes it is necessary to inspect individual units as well. Sometimes, and perhaps without even knowing it, a home or condo owner may be violating association rules on their individual properties.
Problems that could warrant an inspection of a homeowner’s property include exterior aesthetic standards, health, safety, and wellness issues such as smoking in a non-smoking unit, improper use of a fireplace, wood stove, or chimney, and a variety of pet-related rules and regulations. These can be costly risks for the condo or homeowners association and its members. Regular inspections help the community identify problems before they start to create greater risks.
Remember, an association or any of its representatives cannot enter a homeowner’s private property without his or her consent, unless in the event of an emergency. To gain entry without consent of the homeowner, an association’s representative would need to have probable cause and be granted a court order.
What is the property manager’s role?
The property manager is the person responsible for inspections of both common areas and, if necessary, individual home inspections. This person will be the eyes and ears of the association’s board of directors. He or she ensures that owners and guests follow the rules and is also responsible for seeking out, identifying, and correcting potential problems throughout the community. The schedule for the property manager’s inspections should be outlined in the bylaws of the homeowners or condo association.
Your association may not have a property manager. If this is the case, then a qualified member of the board or other appointed person should be conducting scheduled inspections. It is very important that all inspections be completed in a consistently equal and equitable manner.
If you live in a condo or homeowners association, it’s important to understand the vital role that inspections play in keeping you and your neighbors safe. At Knapton, Reade & Woods, your safety is important to us. For additional information and useful property management tips, please read our blog, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.