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This question is for Law Pro. I live in a homeowner association

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This question is for Law Pro.

I live in a homeowner association in Pennsylvania, a non-profit registered Pennsylvania corporation. In our association, the homeowners own their homes, inside and outside, including the roofs, building siding, windows, gutters, etc. The homeowners lot is basically the footprint of their home. The rest of the land is owned by the homeowner association.

The homeowner association also bears the responsibility by our Declaration of maintaining and replacing our building siding, roofs, and other outside fixtures as a common expense as well as maintaining the landscaping. The declaration includes easements which allows the association to undertake their responsibilities without permission of the homeowners.

Various vendors are hired by the Board to fulfill the homeowner association's responsibilities. These vendors include landscapers, carpenters, masons, trash collection, etc. The business relationship of these vendors is with the homeowner association as a corporation as represented by the Board. As I understand it, the individual homeowners have no direct relationship with these vendors.

Here are the questions:

Do the homeowners have any rights to stop a vendor from damaging their property if they are undertaking their responsibilities in a manner that violates building codes or standard industry trade practices? The unusual situation is that the HOA corporation has hired a vendor to maintain a property that the HOA corporation does not own. The owner has no relationship to this vendor and little control, if any, of what is being done to their house. Compounding this, the board members refuse to talk to homeowner, directing that all communication must go through the management company which often does not respond in a timely fashion.

Also, if the vendor damages the property of a homeowner, such as hits their car with their truck, smashes into the outside heat pump unit with their mowers, breaks a windows, etc., from who does the homeowner seek redress? The homeowner association usually takes no responsibility for their vendors, claiming the homeowner or their insurance company must pursue the vendor for the damages. Is this correct? Or should the homeowner pursue damages from the HOA corporation who then must pass this on to the vendor?
Hi! Thanks for asking for me.


I'm going to copy and print the questions given they are/could be a little extensive.

Do the homeowners have any rights to stop a vendor from damaging their property if they are undertaking their responsibilities in a manner that violates building codes or standard industry trade practices?

Yes, absolutely. First, the homeowners are third party beneficiaries of the contractual relationship as between the association and the vendors.


third-party beneficiary n. a person who is not a party to a contract, but has legal rights to enforce the contract or share in proceeds because the contract was made for the third party's benefit. Example: Grandma enters into a contract with Oldfield to purchase a Jaguar automobile to be given to grandchild as a graduation present. If Oldfield takes a down payment and then refuses to go through with the sale, grandchild may sue Oldfield for specific performance of the contract as a third-party beneficiary.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/third-party+beneficiary


A third party beneficiary, in the law of contracts, is a person who may have the right to sue on a contract, despite not having originally been an active party to the contract. This right, known as a jus tertii, arises where the third party (tertius or alteri) is the intended beneficiary of the contract, as opposed to a mere incidental beneficiary (penitus extraneus). It vests when the third party relies on or assents to the relationship, and gives the third party the right to sue either the promisor (promittens, or performing party) or the promisee (stipulans, or anchor party) of the contract, depending on the circumstances under which the relationship was created. This principle is known as ius quaesitum tertio. A contract made in favor of a third party is known as a third-party beneficiary contract or simply third-party contract (stipulatio alteri), and any action to enforce a ius quaesitum tertio is known as a third party action.


[wikipedia]


As the homeowners are third party beneficiaries of the contract between the association and the vendor - they can also enforce that they construct pursuant to the building code, construct in a workmanlike manner, not cause a nuisance.


The unusual situation is that the HOA corporation has hired a vendor to maintain a property that the HOA corporation does not own. The owner has no relationship to this vendor and little control, if any, of what is being done to their house. Compounding this, the board members refuse to talk to homeowner, directing that all communication must go through the management company which often does not respond in a timely fashion.

Regardless if the association doesn’t own the property - the owner would still have a third party beneficiary status if the contract was to perform work on their property.

Also, if the vendor damages the property of a homeowner, such as hits their car with their truck, smashes into the outside heat pump unit with their mowers, breaks a windows, etc., from who does the homeowner seek redress? The homeowner association usually takes no responsibility for their vendors, claiming the homeowner or their insurance company must pursue the vendor for the damages. Is this correct? Or should the homeowner pursue damages from the HOA corporation who then must pass this on to the vendor?

They have a negligence claim directly against the vendor for any damages done to their property. Yes, the association is correct in their assertions. However, that even reinforces the third party beneficiary status of the homeowner.


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