Re: How much liability insurance do other cohousing communities carry?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 09:47:22 -0700 (PDT)
On 15 Oct 2011, at 1:31 PM, R Philip Dowds wrote:

> Something didn't go right — and now I'm hurt, or have suffered a loss.  Sure 
> can't be my own fault, it must be somebody else's fault.  Probably the fault 
> of somebody else with money, who now owes me something.

There is also the issue of panic and denial. The person has no other recourse, 
or their insurance company has denied their claim because you are at fault.

The only other thing I would at to Philip's excellent explanation would be the 
maxim that

"If you have been warned about something, you are liable." Whether this is 
actually a law and true in all states, it makes sense — and Monk did a whole 
program on it!

If your fire sprinkler inspection tells you that nothing can be stored higher 
than 18" from a sprinkler head, you are responsible for ensuring that nothing 
is in common spaces, including limited common element basement storage. If 
resident A's stuff is destroyed because resident B piled things too high and 
blocked the sprinkler, Resident A will sue the association, not the resident. 
The association has more money and insurance, thus the logic goes, can afford 

We just went through this in regard to our pet policy. People wanted dogs to be 
allowed to run free, off leashes. Big discussions because some residents were 
very afraid of dogs and others had seen children being badly deformed by dog 
bites. Since children are uncontrollable in play situations, they can step on a 
dog's foot and the dog will bite. Dog is perfectly justified but the child may 
be permanently scarred. Others thought this was ridiculous and would never 
happen with "our" dogs.

The city and our lawyer informed us that if we had a community rule that was 
less restrictive than the law which requires dogs to be within immediate 
control of their owner, we would be responsible as an association. It would not 
be an issue between the dog owner and the child's parents. There was no more 
talk of dogs running free.

Even the people who thought a problem would never arise, were not willing to 
assume financial or personal responsibility if it did.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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