Property Managers: Don’t get sued for trying to do the right thing with maintenance and repairs2020-04-23T00:25:21+00:00
Property Managers: Don’t get sued for trying to do the right thing with maintenance and repairs

If you manage property – apartments, condominiums, or commercial properties – you know the importance of maintenance plans and budgets. It is critical to establish these priorities with the property owner. But what happens when the planned maintenance and budget is not enough? When you have to schedule several repairs and heightened maintenance? Eventually, if the construction of the property is determined to be defective, the property owner may sue the original contractors and builders who constructed the property. In turn, these contractors or builders may sue you, the property manager, and argue that sustained ineffective maintenance or incomplete repairs contributed to the damage at the property.  Do not let this happen to you. What should you do?


Under the law, the property owner is assumed to have any information that you have. You may be the property owner’s agent. That is true regardless of whether you have actually communicated the information to the owner. To keep yourself out of harm’s way, and provide the best service to your property owners, keep them informed about the maintenance and repairs you are performing and scheduling at the property. Help give the property owner the information it needs so that it can make a decision about how to proceed.

Look for outliers

If, as a property manager, you plan, schedule and execute routine maintenance and repairs, then you have established a good baseline for understanding the performance of a building. But if for some reason the property costs more than expected to maintain, or requires several repairs at windows, plumbing, or other sensitive components, the property or its components may be defective. If the property manager keeps track of deviations from the expected performance of the building, that will help the owner quickly determine what steps it may need to take to protect its investment in its property.


Ball Janik LLP was founded in 1982 with six lawyers and a four-person support staff in Portland, Oregon. Since our firm’s inception, we have expanded our capabilities, our professionals, and geographic footprint. What started as a firm focused in real property and land use (known then as Ball Janik & Novack), has grown to include the insights of a team of 30-plus attorneys, with a combined six centuries of experience, and capabilities including Real Estate and Land Use, Construction Defect, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Recovery, Construction and Design, Employment, Finance and Corporate, Public Agencies and Schools, and Community Associations. With offices in Florida and Oregon, our regional growth has earned us a national reputation for upholding the rights of our clients.

Ball Janik LLP has been recognized by Chambers USA, U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, The Best Lawyers in America©, and Corporate International. Ball Janik LLP’s success and integrity have repeatedly made it one of “Oregon’s Most Admired Professional Firms,” according to the Portland Business Journal’s survey results of CEOs throughout the region.

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