HOA property maintenance covers a lot more than you might think. As part of the community management team, you need to have a complete view of what HOA maintenance responsibilities you need to cover. HOA property services do not end with HOA exterior maintenance tasks, as well. Your board could also be responsible for things like equipment maintenance and utilities, and you may need to plan and budget for those, too.
In this article, we go over the major areas covered by HOA property services, as well as the areas that the homeowners have to take care of themselves.
HOA Property Maintenance: Common Areas Covered by HOA Property Services
Each community is different, and so the HOA property maintenance responsibilities could change drastically depending on the specific community. HOA property maintenance for condos, for example, can be vastly different compared to the HOA maintenance responsibilities for single-family home communities.
What is your HOA responsible for when it comes to HOA property maintenance? The visual appeal and livability of a managed community are so important that is probably the most asked question when it comes to HOA property services.
It’s also a question that does not have a simple answer since every community has its own set of governing rules, as well as the state regulations that they have to abide by.
As a general rule, HOA property maintenance covers the common areas in the community. In this case, the term “common areas” has a technical definition to it, to separate it from “separate interests.” Common areas typically refer to properties and amenities that are available for common interest. Places like community pools, parks and sidewalks are usually part of a community’s common areas.
Separate interests, on the other hand, are the separately owned lots, apartments, or units belonging to residents. On a single-family planned development community, these would be the lots and the houses built on them. In a condominium project, a separate interest would refer to the unit separately owned by the unit owner.
HOA Property Maintenance Areas Defined by CC&Rs
Ultimately, the areas that HOA maintenance covers are specified in the HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for that managed community, as well as the current civil codes governing your area. In the CC&Rs, you should be able to see the majority of cases that HOA property maintenance applies to.
The first place to check is the area definitions in the CC&Rs. As a general principle, separate interests are marked out for ownership and private use, and then any area not covered by those will typically fall under common area use. Some areas are also designated as exclusive common areas, or areas that are available for use by a subset of the residents.
The division of property section of the CC&Rs should cover the ownership of the common areas, exclusive common areas, and separate interests in the development. This same section will usually explain who is to maintain the various areas in the community as well.
CC&Rs should also be able to explain, for the most part, the powers and duties of the association. In a section related to this topic, the CC&R can explain in some detail the extent of the HOA property maintenance responsibilities for the community.
HOA Property Maintenance Responsibilities Stated by the Civil Code
Finally, the civil code usually covers anything else not provided for by the CC&Rs. In its current version, it states that HOA property maintenance should cover the upkeep, repair, and replacement of common areas, outside of exclusive use common areas, and with a few possible exceptions as may apply in the later parts of the civil code.
Property Maintenance Responsibilities of Owners
Unless otherwise provided for by the CC&Rs of their managed communities, the homeowners are responsible for maintaining their own separate interest areas. A community’s visual appeal hugely depends on the maintenance and upkeep of each residential property in it.
The exterior condition of homes and properties are particularly important, and homeowners should work with the HOA to keep their homes looking well-maintained and compliant with community standards. This can be maintained easily by paying attention to a few particular areas.
1. The Roof
Great curb appeal starts from the top, and many homeowners judge the condition of a home by the appearance of its roof. It’s important to ensure that your roofs are regularly cleaned and well-maintained.
Good roofs add quite a bit to the perceived exterior condition of a home, so owners should take the time to look up and check on their roofs every once in a while
2. Downspouts and Gutters
Downspouts and gutters tend to be easily overlooked in terms of the overall exterior condition of the home, but they have a vital role to play. Working downspouts and clear gutters prevent leaks, flooding, mold, and most exterior issues that stem from inadequate drainage. To prevent any flooding or overflow, make sure they are clean and in good condition.
3. Awnings, Decks, and Fixtures
The exterior details of your home add a lot to its overall exterior quality. Homeowners should check their awnings and decks for signs of damage, and make repairs as needed.
4. Exterior, Paint, and Sidings
The condition of the exterior walls of a home is usually the first impression that visitors will have of the whole property. Owners should periodically inspect the exterior paint, sidings, and outside stonework on their own property from weathering, mold, and damage.
5. Landscaping and Garden Maintenance
Since it’s often noticed first, keeping the landscape looking good is a big deal – so much that HOA CC&Rs can be very particular about lawn and garden conditions of the homes in the development. Homeowners should take the time to replant damaged lawns and maintain the trees and shrubbery in their property.
6. Sidewalks and Driveways
Homeowners should keep their driveways in good condition and clear of debris or grease. At the first sign of damage, owners should repair cracks or pitting to keep them from spreading. Driveways, as much as possible, should not be blocked with delivery items, car parts or other clutter.
HOA Property Maintenance Makes a Difference
Good HOA property maintenance practices can keep a community looking vibrant and livable but only if the homeowners do their part, as well. We can personally attest to the huge difference a good HOA property maintenance policy can make for a community. If you’re looking to update your HOA property maintenance policy and get your homeowners involved, we can help.
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