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Traveling & Liability – What you should know!

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Vacation Picture

When leaving a condo unoccupied for a long period of time, unit owners should consider the following to reduce the risk of being found liable for damages to their condo and condo building:

  • During the winter months, condo units should be kept heated enough to avoid the risk of pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Consideration should be given to draining pipes (if possible). A leak that would normally get noticed quickly can cause extensive damage if left unattended for a couple weeks. This is especially important during winter months when there is the risk of pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Make sure all plugs are pulled out of sinks, tubs, etc.
  • Unplug non-essential appliances to avoid risk of fire. Especially portable heaters and hair styling appliances!
  • Due to increased risks of damages during extended absences, many unit owner policies will restrict coverage if a unit is unoccupied for a long period of time (typically over 30 or 60 days). Unit owners should inform their broker of any absences that may exceed this timeline.

Helpful tips to decrease unit owners’ risk:

  • Try and make the unit look occupied to avoid unwanted attention. A buildup of newspapers and flyers on the doorstep or in the mailbox are a giveaway, so perhaps a neighbour can collect them. During the winter months it may also be a good idea to ask someone to keep your walk shoveled (if applicable) so that it appears that someone is home.
  • Light timers can also give the impression that someone is home.
  • Fun Fact: you can program most timers and smart plugs with a “random” setting to have your lights turn off and on at random times throughout the day, which portrays a less “programmed” feel over an extended period of time.
  • Ask a friend, family member or neighbour to check on your unit while you’re away to ensure there are no leaks, fire hazards or issues.
  • Consider whether “checking in” at the airport or resort on social media and posting your holiday pictures is a good idea while you are away.
  • Keep valuables out of view of windows.