Key Provisions to Monitor in Your Elevator Maintenance Contracts
Properly operating elevators rank near the top of the most important — and most visible —equipment in a community association. Yet some communities sign standard service contracts without giving the terms much thought.
“One of the biggest mistakes across the board with associations is not having a lawyer look over the elevator contracts,” says Jennifer Biletnikoff, a shareholder in the Naples, Fla., office of Becker & Poliakoff. “There are a lot of provisions that I’d recommend changing if possible.”
Duration and auto-renewal is one critical area associations should try to negotiate with the provider.
Every manager has been in that situation where owners or board members demand they fire a vendor immediately. “The board gets very upset and calls the manager and tells them to terminate the contract,” says Paul Grucza, director of education and client development at the Seattle-based management company CWD Group, Inc.
“The manager has to ask if they’ve looked at the contract because it has specific dates and circumstances under which the contract is terminable. If those terms aren’t met to the letter, the contract can’t be terminated.” Elevator maintenance contracts can be particularly difficult to get out of prematurely.
“Every elevator maintenance contract I’ve looked at is of a longer duration, like five years,” Biletnikoff says. “Those are fine if it has a 30-day termination notice with or without cause.
“But a lot of them require you to give notice of deficiencies or breaches and the opportunity for the company to cure those before you can terminate. As a lawyer, I hate those kinds of provisions.”
Read the full article now to learn more about these provisions, as well as four other areas you should stay on top of: