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