We often warn clients not to use the word “security” in governing documents, rules, signs, etc. Why? Because, the creation of an appearance that the association is providing, enhancing or maintaining security can create liability. Recently, a New York woman was raped by a pizza delivery boy who was allowed access to the building by a night doorman. After he delivered the pizza to the woman’s neighbor he entered her unit and raped her. The woman has sued the association, the management company and the night watchman who has also been suspended from his job.
If your association does provide secured buildings through, fob keys, keys, buzzers, doormen, security companies, etc., it is important that the board develop standard operating procedures and that owners be made aware of what exactly is being provided. In addition, owners should be reminded that these efforts are not full-proof, that access can still be obtained and that they should be aware of their surroundings, protect themselves, etc. For more information on ways to minimize liability related to security see our article, Association Safeguards: A 12-Step Program to Protect You and Your Association.