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Public Liability - Apartments

  • 12-07-2022 6:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 12 Aoibhinn41

    Hi There

    I live in an apartment complex and am seeking an answer re public liability in common areas from our management company, which is like getting blood out of a stone.

    I have seen our insurance policy and there is cover of up to 7M in place for public liability.

    The specific question I have is that there are quite a few children in the complex and large greens as part of the complex. The children play here and leave footballs, bikes etc lying around. Other residents keeps decorative items outside their front and back doors.

    My question is around liability and who is liable if someone trips on a bike or other personal item such as garden furniture and is injured given we don't own the area outside our front door. Does the public liability cover this or are owners personally liable?

    Im aware that every insurance policy is different but just looking to see if any other apartment owners had similar issues?



  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ TheWonderLlama

    the management company generally own and maintain the common areas in a complex. (check that all common areas have been taken over by the mgmt co first, although this should have been done by your solicitor)

    they are obliged to have public liability cover in place.

    First port of call would be to the management company in the event of a claim.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,143 ✭✭✭✭ recode the site

    Raise this for next AGM. A property maintenance company, (eg like Petra in my case) who are employed by the Owners’ Management Company usually are able to help answer these questions.

    A clever person solves problems, a wise person avoids them: Albert Einstein

  • Registered Users Posts: 12 Aoibhinn41

    Thanks for your advice.

    The common areas are in the process of being transferred from the developer. Directors are actively pursuing it (apparently).

  • Registered Users Posts: 717 ✭✭✭ macvin

    Whilst a management company has a duty of care, so does an individual.

    If you know there are children and a few things are left lying about, you should be aware of that and therefore I would find it hard to see the mgmt company as liable

    If however a rotting tree fell on someone and the mgmt company could not show reasonable care in noticing the tree, then they would be liable in that situation.

    But kids bikes and balls in a family living environment - up to the person to keep their eyes open

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,276 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    Maybe in a normal country. We've had people successfully get large payouts for a lot less than tripping over a bike left in common areas.

    It's all well and good saying keep your eyes open but there's some people who can't see and many others who can see a large payout, which our courts are happy to keep awarding for spurious claims.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,568 ✭✭✭ dennyk

    As to who's liable, an experienced chancer would just sue every party that could potentially be involved and let the courts work out who has to pay them what!

    Seriously, though, liability would come down to the facts of the situation; it could go either way depending on the specific circumstances. Liability isn't a function of insurance policy terms, it's a legal matter. If a court says the OMC is liable for damages in a particular case, then they must pay; whether their insurance policy will cover the damages in question is a separate matter. If the court says an individual party is liable, then the OMC's insurance policy isn't going to jump in and volunteer to cover it (though that party's own personal liability insurance might pay for it, if they have such a policy). The OMC can't tell you definitively whether they or an individual owner would be found liable in any given hypothetical situation, because they aren't solicitors or judges, and even if they were, they wouldn't have all of the pertinent facts to make that judgement.

  • Registered Users Posts: 491 ✭✭ TheWonderLlama

    well then, it is the developer who is responsible for ensuring the common areas are insured. I would bet the house that he has no insurance.

    To be clear, if someone trips outside your apartment, then provided you haven't contributed to the accident, then it would be the developer (currently) who is responsible.

    When the common areas are handed over to the OMC, (eventually) then it will be the responsibility of the OMC to carry public liability insurance and you will pay for that through your service charges.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,902 ✭✭✭ Marcusm

    After you get a few claims you will find that the person claim deductible will increase to a level where the insurance will be fairly useless. The first port of call is to reduce the likely incidence of claims, removal of items which might cause trips and falls (whether accidental or “accidental”).

  • Registered Users Posts: 12 Aoibhinn41