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Ask the HOA Expert: Who Is Supposed To Fix And Maintain What?

Question: Our board has a running battle with various unit owners about who is supposed to fix and maintain what. As a result, the board has paid for repairs that were probably the unit owner’s responsibility. How do we get this under control?

Answer: The board should adopt a Maintenance & Insurance Areas of Responsibility Policy that defines the responsibilities HOA vs Owner. The idea is to break down the buildings and grounds into component parts and then describe who is responsible. Always review and use the governing documents as a guideline if direction is provided. While the Areas of Responsibility Policy can be subject to interpretation under certain circumstances, it usually provides clear guidance to both the board and unit owners. Moreover, it provides the board with the basis for consistent handling of maintenance issues. Another benefit is it clarifies for the HOA’s and unit owners’ insurance carriers what things the HOA is responsible for and eliminates claim disputes. This is a “must-have” policy in any common wall community.

We have a resident we routinely have to call the police on for disturbing the peace, verbally assaulting and stalking neighbors and threatening them with physical harm. This resident is essentially psychotic and totally unpredictable. This has gone on for years and we’ve reached our limit. This situation is now affecting sales! What can we do?

Answer: Have you been in contact with this person’s relatives to ask for their help? If there are no relatives or they refuse to help, your attorney needs to file a civil lawsuit and ask the judge to mandate remedies like mental health treatment, a restraining order, etc. The fact that this person has violent tendencies cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, the court route may take longer than you would like but you simply have to stay the course and assume the court will provide a permanent answer to this. In the meantime, continue to have him arrested if necessary. It will only strengthen your case once the matter makes it to trial.

I am researching HOA pool liability. Recently, the board enacted pool hours which don’t seem safe: 8am to 11pm. I’m concerned about allowing people to swim after dark. The pool has no lighting.

Answer: Since daylight hours change daily, either longer or shorter, it makes sense to tie pool hour closing to dusk or 10 pm whichever comes first. Due to noise concerns, the pool needs to close at a reasonable hour unless the location of the pool doesn’t create a noise issue. For the same reason, establish a pool opening schedule to avoid disturbing people who may still be sleeping. Of course in Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun, all bets are off. But the pool is probably frozen anyway.

Written by Richard Thompson for Copyright © 2022 Realty Times All Rights Reserved.