Is Your HOA’s Preferred Contractors List a Liability?

By David Wilson
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Our association has a list of preferred contractors for homeowners to use for work inside their homes. Does the association face increased liability?

Whether any possible liability attaches here may depend on what it takes to get onto the list. If it is just a list of contractors that other homeowners have used—and not really one that is “approved” or promoted by the association—then it is unlikely that any liability would attach. Associations should generally avoid indicating that they have somehow vetted or are promoting any specific contractors.

Many boards mistakenly transform their authority to approve changes into broad oversight of details of the work, including who can do the work.

Another element to consider here is that the association’s list is for work inside a home—an area over which associations almost never have control. Condos and cooperatives may have rules that require approval for changes that affect the structure in some way, but otherwise, interior changes may not need approval.

Protecting the community from disreputable contractors may not always be possible. Because work on a condominium unit often involves work affecting the common elements, many condominiums do require that any contractor carry insurance that lists the condo as an additional insured, specifically have worker’s compensation insurance, and be licensed for whatever work they are actually doing.

We usually recommend leaving lists of good or bad contractors to individual owners, Angie’s List-type services, Facebook, or Nextdoor—and not officially involving the association. explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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David Wilson

David C. Wilson is an attorney with Black, Slaughter & Black, a law firm with offices in Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C. Wilson is licensed to practice in North Carolina and South Carolina.