HOA Repairs: Who Is Responsible?

shutterstock_109626806Repairs and maintenance are part of owning any property. However, for homeowners who live in a neighborhood with an HOA, knowing who is responsible for those repairs may become a little confusing.

The Board Is Responsible for Common Areas

Typically, the board is responsible for repairs and upkeep in all the common areas, such as clubhouses, pools, common walkways, common stairways and parking areas. In condominiums and other multi-unit buildings, the board is also responsible for maintaining and repairing the exterior of the building, such as the roof and siding. In single-unit neighborhoods, homeowners are responsible for damages and maintenance on and in their own property. They may even be required by the governing documents of the HOA to make, and pay for, certain repairs and alterations. In condos, owners are responsible for the interior of the units.

The Residents Pay for the Repairs

Technically, the board schedules the repairs/maintenance and pays for it out of the HOA funds, but those funds come from the residents. Even though the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) may say the board is responsible, it’s actually a shared responsibility. The homeowners are responsible for paying monthly dues (and sometimes special assessments) to cover the costs associated with these common areas. It is the board’s responsibility to routinely review the cost of repairs/maintenance and to ensure dues aren’t too high or too low. It is also the board’s responsibility to ensure the funds are allocated correctly.

The Board Must Have Sufficient Reserve Funds

Some maintenance is common. For example, having a landscaper cut the grass in a common area is done on a regular basis. However, the roof of the clubhouse may only need to be replaced once every 15 years. These less-common costs come out of the reserve funds. The reserve funds are like the association’s savings account. They set a little aside each month to save up for big expenses. Again, the homeowners pay this with their monthly dues, but the board is responsible for ensuring enough money goes into the reserve (but not too much). They’ll have to estimate how much these big expenses will cost in the future and when they will occur.

The governing documents are the best source to determine who is responsible for which repairs, but usually the board is responsible for common areas, and homeowners are responsible for their own property. However, even in common areas, the responsibility is somewhat shared because, while the board spends the money, the homeowners ultimately provide the funds.

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