Cases of elevator shutdown are certainly becoming much more common, as the boards of condos and coops rush to install mandatory door lock monitors before the deadline arrives in January 2020. Due to the intensive work required, many boards opt to temporarily shut down elevators in order to execute the necessary modifications.
While some boards make the necessary plans to minimize the inconvenience caused to the occupants, there are others who act without taking the necessary steps to cushion the unit owners from these unanticipated changes. In light of this, it is absolutely important for boards to learn how to survive an elevator shutdown without causing much inconvenience to the unit owners.
Here are some of the steps that a board should take to address an elevator shutdown.
Deliberate with a Legal Attorney
Boards need to understand that they will be held liable in case an accident occurs during the repair process. Usually, the insurer of the building is supposed to cover the costs in case of accidents during elevator shutdown. It is advisable for the board to consult a professional lawyer on legal risks involved in case of accidents before implementing a temporary elevator shutdown. This will help them decide whether they can take on the risk of making repairs.
Communicate with the Unit Owners
The planning and designing process usually takes a long time. Boards should capitalize on this window period to inform the unit owners about the planned repairs. This gives the tenants ample time to prepare for the changes accordingly. In properties where there are elderly or disabled individuals, the board should help them relocate temporarily as the renovations are done. The board should also provide reasonable compensation to the unit owners to help them readjust to the situation. Sometimes all it takes is an abatement of lease fees to make the unit owners embrace the changes.
To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, ensure you announce the planned elevator shut down during the next general meeting. This will give the shareholders enough time to process the required changes and implement them early enough. Alternatively, you may choose to write a notice stipulating your elevator shutdown. Whichever the case, it is important to mention the exact period ( dates and time) when the elevators will be out of service.
Empathize with the Unit Owners
It is no secret that a major project such as elevator renovation causes temporary inconveniences to the unit owners living in the building. They may have to sacrifice the comfort and familiarity of their home by living elsewhere during the period of the elevator shutdown. This might elicit feelings of ire in most individuals. In light of this, boards should be more responsive to the feelings of the unit owners. As a board, you should encourage suggestions from the tenants and listen to any complaints they might have. Genuine compassion will make the unit owners more receptive to the board’s plans and foster good understanding between all parties involved.