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Subject: Broken door
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Author Messages
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/12/2019 2:31 PM  
We have a resident who's back glass door was shattered. She claims it had to be the landscaper since they were out there the day that this happened. She was not in her home at the time. The landscaper claims there is no way they had anything to do with this. The bottom line is this is a "she said - he said" situation.

Our management company just called and told me that the owner will be calling me to try and get the door replaced by using HOA funds or to make us force the landscaper to pay for it. My initial thought is that the board should not be getting involved with this dispute and its' up to her and the landscaper to resolve the matter. Since the landscaper works under a contract for the HOA I just wanted to check and see if anyone thinks we could in fact be liable. Any words of wisdom are welcome!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/12/2019 2:50 PM  
The lawncare should be carrying their own insurance policy for such things. This isn't a HOA issue but between lawncare/member. Let them know that the HOA pays someone to do lawncare whom carries insurance for such thing. It's going to be hard for them to prove without actual proof. The HOA should ask for the same burden of proof of why they would need to pay as well.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/12/2019 3:01 PM  
I'd be tempted to let the insurance companies sort it out since there is no proof that the landscape company caused this.

Some years back in my community a homeowner thought that someone had tried to break into his home by shattering the glass in his front door. After a bunch of back and forth, we concluded that a lawnmower had picked up a rock and flung it. Because they use those large riding mowers that the guys stand on, they could easily pick up a rock without being aware of what happened. So our landscaper probably was technically "at fault" but was not negligent since it appeared to be an accident.

In this case we just let the insurance company deal with it. The dollars involved were modest, and it wasn't worth alienating a contractor who does excellent work for us (and often tosses in some stuff pro bono).
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6636


09/12/2019 4:26 PM  
ur Board wouldn't even look at this topic as there is no evil dene the HOA's vendor did th damage. Let the Owner try to work it out with insurance and ignore her threat. I take it you're president, John?

Or, yo u could put her request on the Board's agenda for its next meeting and vote to the no action..
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/12/2019 4:49 PM  
Thanks Kerry. Yes, I recently became the president. Lucky me. I just got off the phone with the lady. I told her to work through her insurance company and that it was up to them to decide if the landscapers insurance company should pay. She didn't like it but accepted what I told her. I am told that several years ago a previous board paid for a door in a similar situation.
I'm getting off topic here but I'm learning how important it is for boards to be consistent with their decisions. People have long memories and will use the past to try and bypass rules, regulations, policies, etc. The end result is that boards get sued, challenged and run the risk of becoming ineffective. I'm also learning that it's not our job to try and please as many residents as we can. Our job is to make good sound decisions based on our governing docs and to do what's in the best interest of the community. Sorry for the rant and I'll get off my soapbox now!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6636


09/12/2019 10:24 PM  
Good stuff, JohnT: "Our job is to make good sound decisions based on our governing docs and to do what's in the best interest of the community. "

I wish more boards did exactly that.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3762


09/12/2019 10:34 PM  
Agree with you on consistency John.

Our approach is twofold:

1. We do not use the vendor's standard contract. We have our own. Per our contracts, all damage done by our contractor is their responsibility to remedy.

2. We set a dollar limit of $100. Under that amount, the HOA might decide to eat the cost. It's just not worth it to disrupt a relationship that's working well for the community and the vendor usually goes the extra mile.

Shattered windows cost more than $100. We notify the contractor and put them in touch with the owner. We have one owner who has had the same slider replaced by 3 different landscapers. Most recently, the landscaper agreed to pay the homeowner half the cost of replacement. I don't think insurance companies have ever been involved. No one wants to have a small claim affect insurance rates.

Less than $100 example. Snow contractor scraped the top surface of homeowner's new driveway with a bobcat. The HOA agreed to cover the cost of sealcoating and not bother the contractor.

Another homeowner claimed that one of the snow crew stole a $10 thermometer from her house. We told her to replace it and sent us a copy of the bill. We paid the $10.

You might not agree with this practice, but to us, it was more important to protect the vendor from being verbally assaulted every time they were near her house. If someone else says a thermometer was stolen, we would do the same thing even though we knew it was BS. But we wouldn't give her a 2nd bite at the same apple.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/13/2019 2:48 PM  
NpS,

Thanks for the feedback. I hear what you're saying and understand it. I really am struggling with this. There is absolutely no evidence that indicates how this door was shattered. My gut is it was the landscaper but I don't think it's wise or fair to act on my gut. My major concern is that if we cave in and pay for the replacement we have now set a standard that others will expect. What happens when the next person claims the landscaper caused a dent and damaged the paint on their car, etc, etc? My other personal issue is that the owner involved in this should not expect an HOA board to play detective and hold court. There simply are no facts to consider other than should HOA funds be used to reimburse a homeowner who 'feels' that we should pay for their private property?

The latest is she left me a message today demanding that I come see the door. She also said that she has a $500 deductible and has decided it's not worth filing the claim and that she expects the HOA to pay for it. I'm honestly dreading speaking with her. As it stands I am inclined to continue to say no.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/13/2019 3:26 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 09/13/2019 2:48 PM
NpS,

The latest is she left me a message today demanding that I come see the door. She also said that she has a $500 deductible and has decided it's not worth filing the claim and that she expects the HOA to pay for it. I'm honestly dreading speaking with her. As it stands I am inclined to continue to say no.




Well, she can choose not to file a claim, but that doesn't mean someone else is obligated to pay. Without any witnesses, you could claim that she damaged the door herself. (Too bad she didn't call the police and have them look at "the scene of the crime", so to speak. There may have been some evidence to explain what had happened, like a large rock lying on the patio. At this point looking at the door doesn't tell you anything.)

I'd suggest talking to the HOA's insurance agent first and see what they say. They may go after the owner's insurer whether she wants them to or not. The only reason not to file a claim with your insurer is that you want to avoid having many small claims, since that can raise your premiums or make you uninsurable altogether - but getting their opinion first doesn't cost you anything.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/13/2019 3:27 PM  
How is it the HOA's fault? Just follow the bouncing ball here. The HOA hired a contractor that is a landscaper. That landscaper should have their own insurance for claims such as this. The HOA is NOT responsible because they hired a landscaper. Tell them your NOT paying as the HOA has no dog in this hunt.

She is basically asking ALL the neighbors to pay for this broken door when asking for the HOA to pay for this. How do you think the OTHER owners would feel to pay for this???

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/13/2019 3:52 PM  
The landscaper is a contractor, HIRED, and controlled, by the Board, not the owner. The owner should report it either to the HOA Board or a management company if the HOA has one.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/13/2019 4:06 PM  
Mark,

I am president of the board and she did contact the management company. The management company told her, correctly, that exterior doors are specifically excluded and not covered. They are the owners responsibility and the lady does not dispute this. She then called me and I told her the same thing.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/13/2019 4:17 PM  
I had a very similar, if not exact situation. The landscaper, using their weed wacker, caused a owners back sliding door to break. We called the landscaper and they paid for the loss. The incident was also caught on camera.

You right, in most instances, the doors are maintained by the owner, but if damaged by a vendor, and they can prove it, the vendor is on the hook. I would never tell an owner that they are responsible without doing our due diligence.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/13/2019 4:34 PM  
Mark,

How does one do 'due diligence' when it is a he said-she said situation with absolutely no facts or evidence to consider?

MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/13/2019 5:05 PM  
It appears you checked with the landscaper, you did your due diligence. If you had told the person upfront that the door was their's and no one else, then, I say, you hadn't.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8733


09/13/2019 5:31 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 09/13/2019 2:48 PM
NpS,

Thanks for the feedback. I hear what you're saying and understand it. I really am struggling with this. There is absolutely no evidence that indicates how this door was shattered. My gut is it was the landscaper but I don't think it's wise or fair to act on my gut. My major concern is that if we cave in and pay for the replacement we have now set a standard that others will expect. What happens when the next person claims the landscaper caused a dent and damaged the paint on their car, etc, etc? My other personal issue is that the owner involved in this should not expect an HOA board to play detective and hold court. There simply are no facts to consider other than should HOA funds be used to reimburse a homeowner who 'feels' that we should pay for their private property?

The latest is she left me a message today demanding that I come see the door. She also said that she has a $500 deductible and has decided it's not worth filing the claim and that she expects the HOA to pay for it. I'm honestly dreading speaking with her. As it stands I am inclined to continue to say no.




Good points about what happens next and should the HOA pay because an owner "thinks" they should. Best the HOA policy be damages are between the owner and who they think caused it. Keep the HOA out of it.
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