How is your homeowners association holding up? Do you have buildings in need of repair? Has the HOA board set aside funds for inevitable future repairs? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then it’s time to find out. Why? Because it’s the Board’s job to protect and maintain the association and keep it safe. Sometimes, the safety of lives is even at stake. You don’t want to wait for something bad to happen before taking action, like one homeowners association did in Florida. Read more in the article excerpt below.
Posted by: HOALeader.com
Why You Should Care About Another HOA's Balcony Collapse
In this week's tip, we talk about what you should do in the wake of the February collapse of a second-floor, wood balcony of a condo association in the Florida panhandle.
Thankfully, the incident caused only injuries, not fatalities. But 11 people harmed is nothing to dismiss, even if it didn't happen in your community. It's still smart to understand how condo associations can get to this point and what to do to prevent it from happening in your association.
"I think this serves as a great example for those associations that are deferring maintenance," states James R. McCormick Jr., a partner at Peters & Freedman LLP in Encinitas, Calif., who represents associations. "This could have been the result of improper or faulty construction. But if this balcony fell as a result of deferred maintenance, we as an industry should use it to encourage associations to avoid this type of disaster in the future by performing proper maintenance."
What steps should you take? Here are the first two of five:
- Don't have a reserve study? Do one now. "First of all, have a reserve study with a site visit to have someone visibly inspect these types of components," advises Mary Arnold, CMCA®, AMS®, the Austin, Texas-based national director of training and community association management support at RealManage, an association management firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas.
"That way, you can plan for maintenance," says Arnold.
- Check your local and state regulations.
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A reserve study is an important tool that acts as a kind of safety check within your community – it's also the law in California (Civ. Code §5550). It is crucial to keep you on track with maintaining your community. If the reserve study is not realistic, reserves are not being funded properly or the HOA board is choosing to defer maintenance, your association can be put at great risk. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
The best solution is prevention. Safety in a homeowners association is best achieved by Board members fulfilling their responsibilities to protect, maintain and enhance the Association, obeying the laws, and staying compliant. An HOA manager and reserve specialist can help by conducting a reserve study, periodically doing a walk-through of the Association, and looking for issues that may become safety hazards.