You live in a homeowners association and one of the favorite features in your home is the enclosed patio. It’s where you go every morning to sit and enjoy your cup of coffee before beginning the day. As you take a sip, today you notice the peeling paint, cracked concrete, and dying plants. The patio really could use an update. You decide you'll submit your maintenance request at the next HOA board meeting for some new paint, a trellis, small irrigation system, and definitely new concrete.
Fast forward a few months. You’ve learned that your enclosed patio is a “restricted common area.” This means the actual patio belongs to the homeowners association, but can only be used by the owner. So, who is responsible to maintain the patio?
In this case, the governing documents of the Association stated it was the unit owner’s responsibility to maintain and upgrade the patio. If you want your patio looking good again, it looks like you have a summer project in the works, and you’re not happy about it. You’ve tried to discuss the matter with your neighbor – who just happens to be an HOA board member - and all they tell you is don’t forget to run it by the design review committee!
Remember, each homeowners association is different, so before you do anything it’s important to read the governing documents in your community to know the maintenance responsibilities of the Association vs. the homeowner.
How would an HOA board respond without an HOA manager?
If the homeowners association didn’t have an HOA manager the board may not know how to adequately respond to issues. The HOA board risks:
- Being guided by feelings, even though they must act in the best interest of the Association and adhere to the governing documents
Ramifications of the Davis-Stirling Act because they didn’t properly disclose information to homeowners
- Ignorance of the law and unintentionally breaking the law
How could an HOA manager help in this scenario?
This scenario provides a good reason to have an HOA manager. They can:
- Act as the neutral party
- Help through the maze of the CC&Rs, Bylaws, and Davis-Stirling Act requirements
- Help by guiding HOA board members to put together an amendment if needed
- Schedule meetings
- Be the point of contact for homeowners
If you have a long-term manager, and they become an invested manager, they also become the historian of the HOA. People don’t like change too much, so a long-term HOA manager is an asset! They have an understanding of the property and can refer back to other precedential decisions that were made.
As an HOA board member, ask yourself: why would you NOT take advantage of hiring an HOA manager? Even if you’re a small association, you can benefit from a management company, even if it’s on a consulting basis.