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Our Clients Ask Us: Should We Open the Unit?

Question:  Our documents require the property manager to obtain a key to each unit.  A unit owner recently passed away, and a family member asked if we could let them into the unit to collect some belongings.  Should we open the unit for them with our key?

Answer:   

NO.  Although you may be inclined to assist a family in mourning, there are several reasons why the association should not get involved. There is no way to verify that the person is family, and if the person is in fact family, there is no way to ensure that the person has good intentions.  The association (or you, personally) may be liable for items stolen from the unit if you unlock the door for someone.  The intention of the key provision is for emergencies only (i.e., a pipe burst and no one is home).

Although it may seem harsh, unless they have a court order, tell the family member you are unable to unlock the door, and suggest they call another person who might have a key or a locksmith.

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The Attorneys at Ott & Associates Co., LPA, frequently write and publish legal articles in order to educate clients on continuously changing laws in each practice area.

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216-771-2600

Ott & Associates Co., LPA

1300 E 9th St, Suite 1520
Cleveland, OH 44114

Ph: 216-771-2600
Fx: 216-830-8939

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