Avoiding Maintenance Mishaps in Condos & Apartment Buildings

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Spring is here! It may be a good time to suggest to your clients to do a little ‘spring cleaning’!  Have your clients surveyed their apartment building or condominium property recently for safety hazards?  Property Managers, Coop Board Members and Apartment Building Owners have a responsibility to properly maintain the common elements of the property to avoid maintenance emergencies such as floods and life threatening events such as fires.  Avoiding maintenance and safety claims can be a direct result of knowing the risk factors. 

Obviously, different properties will have different risk factors, but here are a few general hazards your clients can look out for are:

  1. Check Electrical Wires and Systems – It’s not something that you often think about, but, malfunctioning outdated electrical wiring and systems are one of the leading causes of fires within community associations and condominiums. These issues should be of particular concern especially in community associations, condominiums or apartment buildings that have wiring and electrical distribution systems that are 30 years old (or older).
  2. Water Heaters – The average life for a standard hot water tank is roughly about 10 years. It is recommended to proactively replace hot water tanks at or around the 10 year mark in order to avoid potential leaks and flooding.
  3. Sump/Ejector Pumps–Failed sump/ejector pumps is a common reason why condominiums experience water damage.  Replacement of sump pumps every 5 to 7 years is a great way to avoid headaches and will help avoid water leak emergencies.
  4. Outdoor Grills– According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 50% of all fires created by gas or charcoal grills start on balconies or porches. Try making a recommendation to your Property Manager clients that each spring season, a notice is sent out to ALL tenants about the importance of following safe grilling practices.
  5. Sewers and Drain Pipes – One of the most common causes of maintenance emergencies for community associations is due to plumbing backups and clogs. Associations should have plumbing maintenance performed at least once annually for all major drain lines and sewer lines and should have all catch basins cleaned out during the plumbing maintenance service.
  6. Dryer Vents–The leading cause of dryer vent fires is due to the improper cleaning of lint traps, vents, and the immediate areas surrounding the dryers.  Be sure to have your clients clean out the dryer vents on a regular basis and always have a fire extinguisher in all common areas of the property.
  7. Washing Machines– Improper maintenance of washing machines causes your property manager clients to run the risk of water leaks and floods within condominium associations and apartment buildings.  Suggest that your community association clients adopt and enforce a mandatory washing machine hose replacement resolution to avoid the potential of flooding or water damage.

Urge your clients to take proactive steps towards maintaining their buildings.  Your clients can lessen the degree of risk by inspecting their property on a regular basis!

New Empire Group is a nationally recognized and awarded insurance program administrator providing specialty insurance programs and products for the commercial real estate industry, including Commercial Umbrella, CondoPak, and RECOVER Environmental.

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