Our legal documents require our Board approve an expenditure before it is incurred. For this reason, I am asking you 1 Do you think that the board should proceed with a legal opinion of our procedure for hiring contractors to work on our Common Element? 2 Can you give us an estimate of the cost that we would incur for you to proceed with this matter? Jimmy.
Answer: Jimmy. Thanks for asking for my assistance, but I do not mix my column writing with my legal practice. I am competent community association attorney in your area to assist you ndash; if you really need such assistance.
Frankly, I donrsquo;t think you have to spend any money on a legal opinion. It is ldquo;condo 101" ndash; or for that matter ldquo;common sense 101" ndash; that when anyone hires a contractor, he/she/it must be licensed in your state and must have proof of insurance.
The associationrsquo;s insurance agent ndash; who handles your master policy ndash; should be able to provide you with the guidance you need to protect the association, including all board members.
And when you hire a contractor, for jobs over an amount ndash; say 3000 ndash; a written contract must be entered into. Too many contractors use what I call the ldquo;two page specialrdquo;; it spells out a price, gives little detail as to the scope of work, and states that the association or the homeowner will be responsible for attorneys fees should they default in payment.
Thatrsquo;s not adequate. Good contracts can be obtained from the American Institute of Architects AIA.org. They should contain, at a minimum, 1 exactly what work will be done, 2 when it will start and when it is projected to be completed, 3 how payments will be made, 4 what rights do you have if the contractor is in default, and 5 should you litigate or arbitrate if there is a dispute -2- and in either situation, the prevailing party will be entitled to attorneys fees and costs.nbsp;
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