J.J. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I would like to install a new window in my unit where one does not currently exist. While association approval is required, a member of the association is demanding a form stating that I, as the owner of the unit, will be solely responsible for any damages to his unit (not the master shared “all-in” master insurance.) Should I sign this in order to get his needed approval?
Mister Condo replies:
J.J., sounds to me like adding this window is proving to be a real pane, in more ways than one. I can appreciate your neighbor’s concern, but I don’t think you are obligated to sign any agreement with him in order to proceed. I asked one of my community association attorney friends for some help with your question. Here’s the reply:
“The other unit owner can’t legally force you to sign anything. If installing the window causes any damage to his unit, his rights against you will be fixed under the existing law and declaration, which will turn on factors including whether you or your contractor was negligent. The Board itself may have the right to make its approval conditional on any number of issues, such as your specific agreement to indemnify the Association and any affected unit owners if the work causes harm.”