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Keeping Current—Property

Keeping Current—Property offers a look at selected recent cases, literature, and legislation. The editors of Probate & Property welcome suggestions and contributions from readers.

CASES

CONDOMINIUMS: Insurer’s waiver of the right to subrogation does not apply to a tenant who rents a unit. A fire originating in a leased condominium unit caused extensive damage to portions of property managed by the condominium association. Under the lease, the tenant agreed to be responsible for her conduct and that of her invitees; to refrain from negligent and destructive conduct; and to repair or replace parts of the unit damaged by her conduct. The association maintained a master policy of insurance that covered damage to the buildings in the event of a fire. The policy named each unit owner as an additional insured and waived rights of subrogation by the insurer as to any claims against unit owners and the association, their respective servants, agents, and guests. After the fire, the insurer paid a claim of $822,432 to the association and, standing in the shoes of the association, brought suit against the tenant to recover that payment under Va. Code § 38.2-207. The trial court ruled that the insurer had waived subrogation against the tenant, but the supreme court reversed. The policy expressly provided that only the association and the individual unit owners were the named and additional insureds covered by the policy. Although the insurer waived its rights to recover from them, the waiver made no mention of tenants or other non-owner occupants. The tenant, as neither an individual unit owner nor a member of the association, was not an insured party covered by the subrogation waiver. Erie Ins. Exch. v. Alba, 842 S.E.2d 195 (Va. 2020)

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