M.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Resident on 1st floor condo said glass was thrown from above not fallen or blown over with wind. I asked if he saw this happen. He said no he just heard a loud noise and it wasn’t until the morning that he noticed the glass. No other resident heard it or saw it. He wants the board/HOA to assure his safety. Police came out they did not see anything that looked suspicious. As a Board, are we legally obligated to make sure all homeowners are safe. How do we control accidents if this was indeed one?
Mister Condo replies:
M.C., as you know, I am not an attorney so I cannot offer legal advice in this column. You should very likely pose the same question to your association’s attorney for a proper legal response. I will offer the following friendly advice for your consideration. If glass were thrown at this unit owner as claimed, the police are the appropriate responders to such a claim. It would appear their investigation yielded no evidence of assault against this individual. The association does have a responsibility to maintain and protect the common elements of the association and provide a safe environment for unit owners and guests to use those common elements. That typically includes such things as keeping the roadways, parking areas, decks, etc. in good working order without defects that could cause injury. If crimes such as assault were occurring on a regular basis within your association, the Board would likely take measures to increase security for residents. However, this would appear to be an isolated incident and while it is worthy of your attention, I am not sure what you could do to stop someone from throwing glass within your association, especially if it was not witnessed. Even the police could not turn up such evidence from what you have told me. If the glass incident were the result of an accident, you could use your newsletter or website or even send out a notice to residents asking them to be more careful when spending times on their decks, especially if their deck is above other decks as appears to be the situation where you live. Beyond that, you should keep vigilant for further accusations of thrown glass. If you have someone committing assault in your community, it is only a matter of time before there is some evidence or eyewitness that the police can use to take action against the perpetrator. Let’s hope it was just an accident that doesn’t repeat itself. All the best!