B.V. from Llano County, Texas writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Board just sent out a letter notifying owners that our new Master Insurance Policy requires all units to have fire extinguishers. The community has never required this before and while it makes good practical sense, nothing was said about size – A,B,C or a combination of type, about replacing old extinguishers vs charged, or the location of the “one” extinguisher (garage, kitchen, by fireplace, or upstairs near bedrooms). Owners also question why they are being told this, months after the Insurance was started and the Yearly Budget approved. The Declarations do not say Owners are required to provide extinguishers. Should the Condo POA pay for and deliver extinguishers to all units… Then take the cost from operating expenses adjusting the budget line items?
Mister Condo replies:
B.V., I agree with you that the Board is reacting to a requirement in the Master Insurance Policy requiring fire extinguishers in all of the units. I also agree that it does make good, practical sense for all units to have them. However, the Board truly needs guidance as to the exact language they should use and how they will assure the insurer that the association is in compliance. I wouldn’t expect to see anything in the Declaration. It will be a rule or by-law passed by the Board to comply with the insurer’s requirement. There are multiple ways to assure compliance. Your solution would work or the Board can simply require proof of purchase from all unit owners. The bottom line is that without these extinguishers in place and fulfilling the requirement of the insurer, the association is liable in the event a fire breaks out and causes damage, or worse, loss of life. This is a problem for the Board to solve. My recommendation is that they work closely with the insurer to ask what steps need to be taken to assure compliance. Good luck!