As communities in Northeast Florida work toward recovering from Hurricane Irma, we would like to share a few important reminders for condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. While the task of repairing and cleanup is extensive, communities should be on the lookout for the following “scams”:
- Beware of government “officials” coming to your community offering to perform inspections. Require documentation and contact information from any such individual.
- Many out of state “contractors” appear offering to do a free inspection of a roof or common areas and common elements. Ask for their licensing and contact information before entering into any contract for work.
- Do not execute an Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) without first contacting your insurance agent and attorney.
- Beware of any contractor requiring a large down payment for “supplies”.
As part of the cleanup and repair process you are recommended to take ample photographs and/or videos, documenting the time and date, and who took the photograph or video. An experienced attorney should be utilized to review any contracts entered into by the Association and claims made on any applicable insurance policies.
Finally, here are some safety tips to consider for you and your residents:
- Many areas may be under a boil water notice. Check local government website and Facebook pages for updates that can help keep you safe.
- If residents are using a generator, be sure to confirm it is being used safely. Portable generators emit carbon monoxide and should not be used indoors, and may impact certain common elements in condominiums. You can find safety tips for generator use at the American Red Cross website here.
- Do not allow residents to alter or modify common areas or common elements, even if damage has occurred. Only contractors engaged by the Association should perform work on common areas or common elements.
This is not an exhaustive list of safety tips, and you should consider checking updates with local government departments to stay aware of any hazards.
As you begin safely recovering in the aftermath of a hurricane, you will need to review your community’s insurance policies and make sure you comply with any requirements for providing notice. Continue to document any damage with photographs of your property.
Keep in mind that insurance companies may not have your best interest at heart, but do not be intimidated. Seek professional legal advice as you begin your recovery process to ensure you have qualified professionals on the side of your condominium, cooperative, or homeowner association.