Maintenance Responsibilities Tough Choices for HOA Boards

 It's no secret that HOA board members are often forced to balance the interests  of individual residents against those of the community as a whole—and that can make prioritizing projects and community budgets a tricky task  indeed. The recent economic downturn has not done any favors for communities  either, especially those already struggling to prioritize annual budgets.  

 Maintenance issues comprise an important part of an association’s annual fiscal budget. Although maintenance responsibilities can vary between  associations, homeowners are generally responsible for the most of the  maintenance of the property—excluding common areas such as sidewalks—and condo owners are usually responsible for everything on the interior of the  building.  

 For example, if a resident has a stopped-up toilet, it would be the resident’s responsibility. But if the drain issue is inside a wall or common area, that  is the association’s responsibility, says Judi Allen of KW Property Management & Consulting in Tampa. “The unit owner should know what their responsibility is versus what the  association’s responsibility is.”  

 “Homeowner’s associations are usually single family homes where they pay fees for use and  upkeep of common areas,” Allen continues. “Condos can be garden-style or high-rise, and their documents are different than  [single-family] homeowners associations. Condos are much stricter.”  

 Board, or Owner?

 According to Allen, the homeowner’s board or association is charged with formulating and enforcing bylaws, or  rules, among residents. “Each [association] has documents that guide their association, such as bylaws,” she says. “When you buy into it, you sign that you will abide by those documents and  associations are charged with enforcing those documents. Each one is slightly  different but many have commonalities.”  

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