Is it legal to own a commercial property (apt. comp.) without any kind of insurance? What if any is required? What does it cover
Glendale, AZ |
If I am the owner of an apt. complex, what is my legal obligation for insurance on said property? Am I responsible for a "vicious dog" attack on one tenant because of another tenant? And what if I don"t have any insurance?
Barring some contract saying otherwise, you are probably not required to have insurance. Of course, not having it means that you would be liable for covered damages yourself, instead of being able to submit a claim to an insurance company. Whether you have liability for a "vicious dog" attack depends on whether you reasonably should have done something to prevent it. The facts of the case will be particularly important on this type of a claim. If this has happened in your complex and you are concerned about possibly being sued, you will probably want to consult with an attorney quickly to discuss ways to minimize your exposure. Some early work can prevent a lot of problems down the road.
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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the State of Arizona only. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship.
It sounds to me like you should have 2 types of protection from liability - a separate legal entity having title to the property and liability insurance. Having the separate legal entity (eg: corporation or limited liability company) own the property will, if setup and maintained properly, shelter your personal assets (home, car, bank accounts, etc) from exposure if someone were to get hurt and sue you. In addition, you would be foolish to not have insurance on the property. You should have liability insurance as well as property insurance on the building and grounds. You should also require your tenants to have tenant's insurance on their leased space. The liability insurance would cover such things as a dog bite (if you were negligent or responsible in some way), tenants or third party's getting injured on the property (for example, if a tile or carpet is loose and someone slips and falls as a result, you might be negligent (if you knew or should have known of the loose tiles or carpet and neglected to timely repair or replace them). The property insurance would cover damage to the property or grounds (from various problems like water damage (a broken pipe, for example)).
I would recommend that you consult with local counsel for further and more specific advice and with a local insurance broker.
This is just an overview, and should not be considered legal advice or an answer to your specific situation and does not create an attorney/client relationship.