Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Condo owners asked to house their neighbors after a structural failure on the property; radical hospitality?

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The recent evacuation of a sizable number of homeowners from a high rise condo building, one of the River Towers near Alexandria, VA, after “quake” revealing a structural problem involving the columns under part of the building, reminds us that no building absolutely perfect.  Modern or renovated high rises are usually safer than old homes, but many more people can be affected if something happens  WJLA has a story here.

The drove near the area today and saw a major creek nearby.  It appears that all of this probably has to do with repeated flood or water issues at low elevation.

The web page for the condo homeowner’s association actually asked, on Oct. 2, “please consider offering your neighbors a place to stay tonight.

In situations like this, I wonder, did the owners have typical homeowner’s and/or renter’s insurance with loss-of -use coverage?   If so, if they have credit cards, they could check into hotels (after gathering valuables and portable electronics) and file claims.

Again, I wonder what happens with mass evacuations of coastal areas, such as are starting on the Florida Atlantic Coast tomorrow, all the way to Wilmington NC.  Do people have flood insurance?  Are they covered for loss of use?  Could hotels be even found?

I do wonder, as a public policy matter, should there be more effort to have ordinary homeowners inland be ready to house them?  I don’t hear much about this.  There was some talk of it after Katrina (and some people were apparently sheltered by hosts in Texas).  You could ask the same question after a recent apartment explosion in Silver Spring MD, but most of the residents were low income (many were immigrants)

This may sound like “radical hospitality” and “scruffy hospitality.”  Even in a “free world” we should know what is expected and what is OK.

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