Liability and the Service-Oriented Manager/Association

By Sandra Gottlieb, Esq., Swedelson Gottlieb, Community Association Attorneys

The_service_oriented_condo_property_manager_-_Google_Search.pngWe recently attended a very informative program put on by Community Association Institute’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter titled The Service-Oriented Manager, and we were reflecting on all of the amazing services that many community managers provide for their community association owners and residents. Of course, as attorneys, we considered the potential liability to which some of these services can expose an association. For example, the speakers were talking about car washing, driver services and faxing documents for residents. And we questioned whether the manager (or the board for that matter) of an association that, for example, provides fax service for the residents, would allow the residents to receive faxes or other personal services without a signed Release and Indemnity Agreement.

For example, with respect to faxing of documents, what if the association’s staff failed to deliver to a resident an important fax, and as a result, the resident claims they suffered damage? Or what about a staff member who fails to recognize that a fax did not go through or was sent to the wrong fax number? We trust you get the point, and this does not apply just to faxes.

We suggest that if a resident requests the association to send or receive faxes on their behalf, they be required to complete a form. And the form could be a sign-in sheet, for example. It would clearly have to indicate that the resident is signing a Waiver and Release Agreement. At the top and above the lines for the resident’s signature confirming their acceptance to the terms of the waiver agreement, the following language could be stated:

“By signing below you agree to Release, Waive and Hold Harmless the Association, its Board members, employees and agents, from any liability whatsoever for any cause or reason for the Association’s agreement to transmit or receive a fax on your behalf, and this is a waiver and release from any action or claim by you or any third party for such fax(es) and the content thereof.”

This is just some suggested language, and we do recommend that the association confer with legal counsel regarding this kind of waiver and release agreement. And we recommend that the board and management consider this type of waiver and release agreement for any ancillary and not required service that the association provides the residents.

Please contact our office if you want more information or assistance in preparing this type of waiver and release agreement.

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