Beware of Eliminating Repairs & Services in Your Community Association

by admin on June 17, 2010

in Board of Directors, Maintenance, Residents

Be Cautious When Eliminating Services

Many community associations are experiencing tough times as assessment income drops due to the high rate of foreclosures and the non-payment of assessments by their owners.  With this reality, some associations are considering cutting back on services or eliminating common element amenities that costs money to maintain.  All of this is in consideration of trying to help balance their community association budgets.  This is a bad idea without the help of an association attorney and without the knowledge and consent of the members of the association.

When someone buys in a community association, condominium or townhome development, along with the purchase of a unit, the unit owner also purchased an undivided share of the common elements and community amenities.  Some people may have been motivated in their purchase to buy for the “heated pool or Jacuzzi”, another for the “clubhouse sauna or workout room” and another may have purchased because of the “clay tennis court”.  When those owners made the decision to purchase their unit, they had a reasonable expectation that they would be able to use those amenities and that they would also be maintained as part of their maintenance assessment for as long as they lived in the association.

Today, Boards of Directors are under increasing pressure to keep maintenance costs down, while revenues are decreasing due to the non-payment of assessments.  Some associations are considering eliminating some maintenance and repair items in order to solve these issues.  Economically, this may be a solution but it is going against the documents and state statutes that require Boards of Directors in community associations to maintain and repair the common elements.  In condominiums, some documents will have provisions that will allow “alterations” of common elements, with the consent of the unit owners.  In the absence of such a provision, the state requires in some cases a 75% affirmative vote of the membership to do this.  So, there are ways to accomplish this but they do require the owners’ attention and permission.

Prior to any Board of Directors considering eliminating maintenance, repairs and services of any common elements, the association should consult and take direction from their attorney on this matter as there could be further legal ramifications from affected unit owners if this were done unilaterally or improperly. 

Much like our local, state and federal governments who are trying to balance their budgets, Boards of Directors of community associations may want to take action that may be unpopular but necessary.  Just make sure that your association is following their documents and the state statutes when considering eliminating maintenance, repairs or services.  It is a tough job being on a Board of Directors of a community association, just don’t make it tougher by doing things the wrong way.

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