If you are an owner of a multi-family real estate or a property manager, maintenance is one of your top priorities.

Often an owner or manager is so focused on the main building, they tend to forget the parking lot.

To avoid costly claims, here are some safety tips:

Pavement - make sure pavement is free of potholes and cracks.  An imperfection in the lot or sidewalk can create a tripping hazard.  Also keeping the lot free of leaves and debris, will cut down the potential of falls.  Trees and shrubs should be cut back to avoid obstructing the drivers line of sight.

Getting In and Out - make sure clear signage directs people where to go with enter and exit signs.   Make sure they are well maintained and are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Gates and guard houses should be well lit.

Lighting - is important not just from a liability standpoint, but to help keep tenants safe and secure. 

Prospective tenants often mention parking lot lighting as a significant factor in their decision to live in your building.  Lights should turn on a dusk.  Replace burned-out lights as soon as possible.

Snow & ice - keeping the parking lot clear is vitally important.  If you contract your snow removal out, insist on obtaining a certificate of insurance from the contractor showing proof of adequate General Liability limits and Workers' Compensation coverage.  The name of the owner and the applicable entity should be listed as "additional insureds".  The contract for services should clearly state the contractor's duties before, during, and after a weather occurrence.  It should cover how often the contractor is to return to salt an area.

Parking garages - multi-family building owners and managers who have parking garages rather than surface lots are subject to additional liability.  Garages have more hidden places such as elevators and stairwells.  Additional security protections such as cameras and emergency call boxes should be installed.  A high-quality lighting becomes paramount in a parking garage.

Valet Service - There are additional insurance requirements and potential liability any time a human element is involved.  Check with your insurance broker for all required coverages.

Proper oversight of parking lots, garages, and walking areas, can greatly reduce claims.

Source:  Greg Howson for Property Casualty 360


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Contact Info

Smith Insurance Associates, Inc.
1120 Bethlehem Pike, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 858
Spring House, PA 19477

Tel: (215) 542-5959
Toll Free: (877) 742-4678
Fax: (215) 542-6990