Risk Created By Condo Owners Friends Performing Remodel

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B.S. from Rhode Island writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We live in one of four stand-alone condo units here in RI. Our neighbors have bought the abandoned fourth cottage and are setting about to do a total remodel on the unit. My question is, if they hire friends to do the work instead of a licensed, insured contractor, how can we protect the condo association from a lawsuit if an injury occurs on the job?

Mister Condo replies:

B.S., the answer is very likely in your condominium documents. There should be a clause in there that states who can and cannot perform remodeling work and what insurances need to be provided. If the work is to the interior of the unit, owned by the unit owner, the risk and liability are on the unit owner. If your condo required unit owners to have homeowner’s insurance, that might take care of it. That being said, if these folks are gutting walls and potentially damaging the structural integrity of the unit, they may need to have local building permits and such before they proceed. As a general rule, all work performed on behalf of the association requires a licensed and insured contractor. Work done by a unit owner on the portion of the unit that they own (the interior) is their responsibility. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to check with your association’s insurer for their opinion. Better safe than sorry. All the best!

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