In Colorado, we are blessed and cursed with four seasons, each being the foundation of various possible issues with unoccupied or vacant units especially in mountain communities. Units can be unoccupied for different reasons, maybe they are truly vacant or maybe they are idle units that are rented out periodically. Winters can be brutal and it is this time of year where we see an increase of bursting pipes followed by water damage. This damage can be extensive and trickle into surrounding units causing significant repair costs. Unoccupied units can also become a target for vandalism or even used as makeshift housing for squatters both leaving significant damage in their path. Bob Strong of Strong Insurance Agency based in Steamboat Springs noted in a recent presentation that vacant or unoccupied units account for the majority of claims costs in Colorado resort condominiums. Furthermore, he noted that 82% of all claims and 71% of all claim dollars involve water. Based on his years of experience, he has identified a list 9 basic steps associations can take to minimize the risk of water damage in unoccupied units:
Before undertaking inspections it is advisable to consult with your attorney to make sure your authority is well documented. In addition, many communities are amending their governing documents to require replacement of high risk equipment such as water heaters, rubber hoses, etc. with authority for the association to do so if owners refuse. We also recommend that a thorough record be kept on file of all inspections and any actions taken. For more information please contact any of our attorneys at 800-809-5242.
Sources: Strong, Bob. Strong Insurance Agency. Steamboat Springs, CO. 970.879.1330. Basic Requirements for the Prevention of Water Damage Claims in Resort Condominiums.