Q&A: Are Shareholders Required to Buy Homeowners Insurance via the Board?

Q. My co-op board just voted to require all shareholders to buy homeowners insurance. I'd like to find out if that's a common thing, but I don't know who to ask. Thanks!

                                        —Is This Right?

A. “Requiring shareholders to carry homeowners insurance helps to resolve conflicts between shareholders, and between a shareholder and the building,” says attorney Marc J. Luxemburg of the New York firm of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP.  “When conduct by one shareholder causes damage to another shareholder, or to the building, the most frequent instance being a leak, the conflict is more easily resolved if the shareholder responsible for the damages does not have to personally come out-of-pocket to reimburse for the damages, and the damages can be resolved by an insurance company.  A cooperative board of directors has the authority to require that shareholders purchase homeowners insurance either by amending the house rules, or by amending the bylaws of the corporation.” 

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