Q&A: Who’s At Fault for Damaged Walkway?

After last winter, a concrete walkway in our condo property was completely ruined. Several unit owners contend that the property manager used rock salt instead of the usual calcium chloride. If we can establish that rock salt was indeed used to melt the snow/ice after examining the purchase invoices for our community, can we sue the property management company for negligence?

—Frustrated in Fort Lee

“This is more a question of liability than a property question,” says Attorney Michael D. Mirne, Esq. of the Law Office of Michael D. Mirne, LLC.

“In order to prevail in a matter of liability, the unit owners would need to prove that the property manager breached a duty to the unit owners, and that damage was caused as a proximate result of that breach of duty. In this case, I suspect that duty of the property manager is to exercise reasonable care. If it is a known fact that the use of rock salt will cause damage to concrete (something of which I was not aware), then the unit owners may be able to prove that the property manager breached its duty to exercise reasonable care.”    

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