Q&A: Inspection Needed?

Q.  I live in a town house condo in Massachusetts and do not use my fireplace. Am I required to have it inspected every year?    

                  —Cost-Conscious Owner?

A. “There is no state statute or regulation which requires a unit owner to have the unit’s fireplace inspected annually,” says Thomas O. Moriarty, principal of Moriarty Troyer & Malloy LLC in Braintree, Massachusetts. “It is considered a ‘best practice’ under applicable industry standards to have an inspection every year, but the state does not mandate it.  It is possible that the governing documents of the condominium association require an annual inspection.  

“If so, whether non-use of the fire place eliminates the inspection requirement will depend on the language of the governing documents.  A unit owner might consider checking with their insurance agent (or the board’s insurance agent) to determine if any applicable policy of insurance imposes a specific duty to inspect annually or an obligation to comply with best practices regarding the inspection of the fireplace.  It may be unlikely, but better to be safe than sorry.”

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