Don’t Get Locked In to Service Contracts

Don’t Get Locked In to Service Contracts

Sometimes the contractors your association hires for such jobs as snow plowing, painting, or providing security don’t perform up to the standards you expect, and you’ll want to terminate the association's contract with them. If you don’t terminate the contract and you let the company continue to provide poor service to your community, member dissension could rise and the management office could be fielding an increased number of complaints. Even worse, the association could get hit with a lawsuit by a member or guest hurt because of bad service.

Don’t get stuck in a position in which you’re unable to terminate the contract of an underperforming service contractor when you want. Be aware that if you just sign the boilerplate contract that a service contractor submits without making changes, the association is likely to end up in precisely this fix. Even reputable contractors include restrictions in the fine print that make it hard for customers to end their contract.

To safeguard your association's right to get rid of inefficient contractors, you must be wise to the tricks and negotiate to get rid of the unfair restrictions. The best way to work around a boilerplate contract is to write up your own termination clause and insist on including it in every service contract you or your association signs.

For a four-step negotiating strategy to use when contractors ask you to sign contracts that limit your termination rights and an example of a termination clause you can insert into service contracts you negotiate for the association, see “Safeguard Association’s Right to End Service Contracts,” available to subscribers here.


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