Q&A: Allowing Access

Q I am looking for information regarding service contractors (i.e. cable, Internet) needing to set up a prior appointment to access the equipment that is installed on owner's terraces. Does the unit owner have to be at home to let the workers through their apartment to the terrace to do the job, or can a super or other building staff member open up the apartment and be there while the work is done? What are the liability issues raised by having outside contractors walking through private homes? Whose responsibility is it if some personal property is damaged or stolen during the process?

—Insecure in Secaucus

A ”It would be prudent for the unit owner to be present when third parties are in their apartment to perform work,” says attorney Donald M. Onorato with his own practice based in Hackensack. “While a building superintendent or other staff member with the owner’s permission is certainly capable of providing access to the apartments, it is advisable that the unit owner supervise any work which takes place in the apartment.

“If a unit owner’s personal property is damaged or stolen during the process, the Association or contractor may have liability under those circumstances. However, with respect to unit owner liability, it would be prudent for the unit owner to maintain an HO6 insurance policy to protect the unit owner from any claim which arises in the event of injury or death as a result of third parties entering the apartment.”

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