Sunday, June 17, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Call police in case of conflict

Call police when conflict arises

Q: At the last board meeting in our condominium, the board announced a new policy. That policy covered the event of a personal conflict with a neighbor. We are instructed to first call the police (911) if the situation becomes violent and then if it is not resolved, report the matter in writing to the board. It was the consensus of the board that members need to address problems with another resident individually. I am appalled at this policy and can see many problems. What if the neighbor is intoxicated? We have a management company. Is this not an issue they should handle?

A: Since the manager and board members are rarely a witness to neighborly disturbances, they become a third party. As such, they are limited to enforce or take sides to the dispute and in addition they have no powers to resolve the dispute. Also there could be a liability exposure if they intervene and someone is injured or property is damaged.

You may think that the board and manager are on duty 24 hours a day. If the board serves at their will without any compensation, there is no requirement that they be available at odd hours. While they are compensated, most managers will not respond after hours except for emergencies. I always defined emergency as a life-threating building situation (such as a fire or floods) or damage to building equipment. If it can wait until the business hours, do not call the manager or the board.

To your example of a drunk, say he was swinging a knife and making threatening gestures. Do you not think that calling the police would result in faster action?

Your question implies what powers the board and manager have. The answer is limited enforcement powers.

Check on the cost of condo insurance

Q: A few years back I was told that I needed to carry unit owners insurance. The condominium provides insurance for the exterior but not the inside of my unit. Has the law changed and do I not need to have insurance?

A: In 2004 Florida was hit with four hurricanes. Several condominiums found that some unit owners did not have insurance to cover the inside repairs. Some of these owners walked away from the units thus leaving abandon units. These condominiums found that the abandon units were developing mold and mildew and many were open to the elements. The state lawmakers quickly jumped to change the law and require all condominium owners to buy insurance.

In the next couple of years, this law was changed not requiring the insurance coverage. Owners are not necessarily required to have unit owners insurance but the lack of insurance does not eliminate the responsibility for any repairs or replacements to their personal property or repairs of the structure of their unit.

I suggest that all condominium unit owners contact an insurance agent and find out the cost and what it covers.