Deferring Maintenance In Your HOA
Written by Richard Thompson
Deferring maintenance in a homeowner association has negative and lasting effects. While postponing maintenance may seem to be a money-saving technique, the consequences are usually a much higher cost over time.
Painting is one of the largest elements of routine common area maintenance for many HOAs. Poorly maintained paint will fail prematurely. Touchup should be done annually. Wood trim should be painted every 3-4 years. The complete painting of buildings should be done every 6-8 years.
Drainage. Rain and sprinkler run-off can create problems for the lawn, landscaping and underground building areas. The landscape contractor can often provide for drainage corrections that will mitigate these areas.
Concrete sidewalks and driveways need to be inspected annually for cracks and raised areas, as well as degradation of the surface. Raised areas create a trip hazard which can be corrected by grinding or removal and replacement.
Asphalt paving needs to be repaired and seal coated every 3-5 years to properly protect it so it will achieve its maximum useful life of 25-30 years.
Roofs need to be part of a Spring and Fall maintenance plan. They need to be inspected, repaired and cleaned by a qualified roofing maintenance contractor.
Roof gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year, more often in "hotspots" where leaf debris is prevalent. Failure to do this causes backups and overflow that damages paint, siding and landscaping.
Playground equipment should be inspected and maintained to ensure child safety.
Directional signage should be in good repair and easily readable in order to assist emergency response services like police, fire and pizza delivery (joke). Directories with name and addresses also facilitate emergency response. The directory should be regularly updated for accuracy.
Reserve Study. This is a 30 year plan to manage and fund (usually) large projects. A Reserve Study will help the board to schedule, budget and properly maintain the common elements. It is highly recommended that the study be done and updated by experienced professionals like PRA (Professional Reserve Analysts) members of the Association of Professional Analysts. See www.apra-usa.com for a directory PRA members.
Use these hints to help craft your own Preventive Maintenance Plan. Deferring maintenance is a sucker bet that will come back to bite. Follow Doctor Oz's advice and use an "Oz (Ounce) of Prevention".