Associations can minimize potential liability and set the stage for a successful pool season by carefully negotiating and reviewing swimming pool contracts.
VENDOR BEST PRACTICES FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIAITONS:
- Obtain the complete set of contract documents
- Always read the fine print
- Define the scope of work and payment terms
- Check references
- Look for a history of litigation
- Confirm corporate status
- Obtain legal review
- Take protective measures when signing
Obtain the Complete Set of Pool Contract Documents
Associations should always make sure to obtain and review the complete set of contract documents, including all terms and conditions, exhibits and addenda.
Always read the Fine Print
Don’t rely on the vendor to explain the contract terms. Instead, read the entire contract and question any onerous terms. Remember, the devil is the details so don’t skip the fine print!
For example, some swimming pool contracts contain automatic renewal clauses buried in separate terms and conditions. These clauses may lock associations into the contract for additional years if certain action is not timely taken to end the contract.
Additionally, some pool contracts may include burdensome cancellation and/or termination requirements – even when the vendor is providing poor service.
It is generally best to avoid contracts that are difficult to cancel or terminate.
Define the Scope of Work and Payment Terms
Make sure that the scope of work and payment terms are clearly defined in the contract. The more detail, the better.
Taking the time to clearly describe what services and supplies will be provided and for what price during swimming poolcontract negotiations will help to minimize future disagreements and unexpected charges.
Before signing any contract, ask for references and contact those references directly for their opinions.
Keep in mind that some companies may conduct business under a variety of different names. When checking references, be sure to mention the names of the persons involved with the company and the legal entity and office address listed in the contract.
Look for Litigation
Check for lawsuits in the large counties in Georgia that involve the vendor. A history of litigation could be a red flag.
Confirm Corporate Status
Check the vendor’s corporate status with the Georgia Secretary of State to ensure that it is registered and in good standing.
Obtain Legal Review
Consider hiring a community association attorney to review the proposed contract prior to execution.
The law firm of NowackHoward is at the forefront of community association law in Georgia. Our attorneys have unmatched knowledge and experience and provide practical legal counsel. If your association needs assistance with any contract questions, call us at (770) 863-8900 or visit us online at www.nowackhoward.com to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys to learn how we can better serve your community.
Take Protective Measures When Signing
Finally, don’t rush through the signing process.
Make sure to initial, date and number every page of the contract when signing it.
Additionally, when numbering each page, be sure to include how many total pages the contract contains (i.e. “page 1 of 10”).
Those extra steps will help to minimize the opportunity for the vendor to attach additional pages after execution.
When signing is complete, e-mail a fully-executed copy of the contract to the vendor along with a statement that the attachment is a complete copy with all pages. Alternatively, consider using an e-signature that provides secure signing and document management.