December 29, 2011

Washington Court Rules that Condo Association's Insurance Covers Tenant

A Washington appellate court recently decided that a condominium association’s insurance policy covered a unit owner’s tenant as a coinsured party because the lease did not specifically state otherwise. This is significant because associations’ insurers may not attempt to shift the cost of repairing damage caused by a tenant’s negligence or misconduct to that tenant if he or she is covered by the association’s insurance policy. Washington community associations should consider requiring leases to state that the tenant is not covered by the association’s insurance policy. This could help those associations avoid higher insurance premiums in the future.

Community association insurance can be a difficult subject to grasp, but boards must confront it in order to fulfill their legal duties. Identifying and understanding the portions of the governing documents and state law that govern insurance is the first and most important step. An attorney who focuses on representing Washington condominium and homeowners associations can make this complex area more accessible.