Homeowners associations (HOAs) are common interest developments governed by Boards of Directors (Board) and subject to the rules and regulations set forth in the governing documents. These documents address a wide variety of issues related to the management and governance of the development, including the allocation of responsibilities for maintaining property in the HOA. While each HOA conducts its activities according to its own rules, some general principles with respect to repair and maintenance apply more generally, as discussed below.
Individual homeowners are required to maintain personal property in accordance with a certain standard of care that does not impair the value of neighboring properties. This generally applies to maintaining the interiors of homes, structural elements, plumbing and electrical mechanisms, and patios and decks. If an owner fails to comply with the specified maintenance requirements, the HOA may perform these duties and assess the homeowner for the related costs.
The Board is responsible for the general care, maintenance and repair of shared property spaces, as stipulated in the governing documents. In almost all HOAs, the Board is obligated to make repairs only to common areas and exterior structures, and is not responsible for the upkeep of individual properties. Some of the repairs the Board is typically responsible for includes the exterior portions of residences, landscaping, common areas such as lobbies and stairwells, and fences and exterior walls.
When there is a maintenance issue in a common area that requires repair, an HOA member should notify the Board in writing. Once the Board is aware of the issue, it is responsible to hire a licensed contractor to perform the repair. The property owner can demand that the Board designate a start date for the work. If the repairs are not being addressed expeditiously, the homeowner can attempt to handle the repair on his own and request reimbursement from the HOA. However, if the Board has not managed its finances properly or there is an inadequate reserve fund, it may be difficult to recoup the costs of performing such renovations.
To obtain reimbursement, the member should submit a letter detailing the damage and the repair, along with invoices for work performed to remedy the situation. The homeowner should request reimbursement by a particular date. The letter should be handed directly to the Board, and followed by a second request if payment has not been rendered. If the matter is still not resolved, the homeowner can proceed in small claims court against the association, or consult with an attorney about pursuing further legal action when the matter exceeds a certain dollar amount.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.