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Protect Yourself! The Four Things Every Vendor Contract MUST Include

Ronald L. Perl in Board Operations on December 20, 2012

New York City

Four Critical Things in Vendor Contracts
Dec. 20, 2012

We were consulted by the condo board, which wanted to terminate the contract. Upon review of the contract, however, we found it lacked

  • a performance standard
  • a completion date
  • a requirement for work site maintenance and
  • a statement concerning grounds for termination.

Each of those provisions is something we always include in this type of contract. Such terms would have provided the condo association with a stronger position to force the contractor to improve performance. Although the job was eventually completed, the effort was greater and the legal costs higher than if the contract had been appropriately modified by counsel initially.

Legal Lesson

Co-op boards and condo associations should not enter into contracts without review by their attorneys. Some managers utilize forms provided by attorneys for other co-ops and condos. They believe that if an attorney approved the contract for a similar purpose for someone else, reusing the same form can avoid legal review and save money. In some cases, there may be no problem. However, a project at one co-op or condo may not be exactly like a similar project at another, so the same contract terms may not be appropriate.

When they aren’t, the results can be quite costly — both in money and aggravation. Attorneys are trained to anticipate problems and provide protection for various situations and are more likely to spot potential pitfalls. A co-op board or condo board should never approve a contractor’s contract without attorney review, and managers should not simply use form contracts for vendor work.


Ronald L. Perl is Partner in Charge, Community Association Group, at Hill Wallack.

Photo by Jennifer Wu

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