When running an HOA, one of the most important items to keep up with is maintenance and care of your facilities and amenities. This can involve everything from cleaning to minor (or major) repairs, regular upkeep, landscaping, small improvements, and so on. While the vast amount of tasks and responsibilities can be overwhelming, putting a plan into place—and having a solid checklist to follow—can help you keep everything straight!
Know Your Budget—And Stick to It
Maintaining an HOA-governed community isn’t cheap, and the more handle you have on money going out (and coming in), the better. When you create your annual budget, you’ll set aside an amount of money dedicated to general maintenance and upkeep of your properties. Surprises happen, and you may not always be able to stay within your budget to the very cent, but it’s important to stay under or as close to it as possible. Assess your properties’ needs and determine which ones are more pressing than others. Assign a hierarchy if necessary: foundational repairs will rank above replacing the slide at the pool, for example, but if the slide is a hazard to your residents, you don’t want to put it all the way at the bottom of the list.
Keep Current With Rules and Regulations
Your HOA documents will have minimum standards set out for amenities and common areas, and your state and local governments will likely have ordinances you’re required to maintain compliance with. While your bylaws won’t change without board or resident approval, state and local laws can and will change, so make sure you’re as up-to-date as possible.
Create a Thorough Checklist
While every community is different, there are several maintenance issues that you’ll need to address on a regular basis to avoid bigger problems in the future. Having a detailed checklist with regular responsibilities will help you stay on top of your facilities and maintain amenities that will keep your residents happy.
- Roofs. You should perform weekly internal checks for visual leaks or spots. If you’ve had a lot of rain or severe weather, these checks are even more important. A formal inspection should be done any time a replacement is made.
- Building exterior and sidewalks. Regular visual inspections of exteriors and sidewalks are imperative to prevent mold or moss buildup. Schedule biannual cleanings with a pressure washer to clear away any buildup. You’ll also want to inspect sidewalks for cracks or areas that aren’t level due to tree roots or other landscaping issues.
- Pest control. This should be performed on a monthly basis by a professional pest control contractor. Check your state and local laws for any requirements for licensing, frequency, or chemicals allowed.
- Asphalt/roads. Inspect your roads at least twice a year for deterioration, potholes, or fading traffic lines.
- Storm drains. Have your drains cleaned at least once every couple of years, particularly if your property is in an area with a lot of flooding. Inspect the drains and drain boxes regularly in between cleanings to remove any debris or tree branches, roots, etc. You’ll also need to have an engineer recertify your drains every five years (check your state and local laws).
- Tree trimming. Keeping trees on your property trimmed and neat looks nice, but it also helps avoid hazardous situations. Walkers, joggers, and passing cars can be hurt or damaged by wayward branches. Also, unsupported limbs can break away during severe weather and cause damage to people or property. Trimming should be done annually at least, and always after a heavy storm.
- Vehicle entry gates. These should be inspected weekly by security or maintenance staff, who will need to check bolts, belts, and other mechanical parts to make sure they’re in good condition and working properly. Check your contract with the company that provided the gates to see if monthly maintenance is included.
- Playground equipment. This should be inspected internally at least once a month or more often. Any mechanical or structural issues should be dealt with immediately. You should also have it professionally inspected on a yearly basis.
- Pool. During the summer months, you should have your pool professionally serviced at least four to five times, depending on use and size of your community. During the off season, get it serviced at least three times. Heaters should be inspected annually, and you should time it to no less than two months before the pool is opened for community use.
- Gutters and downspouts. These can be checked a couple of times a year if there are no trees nearby, although you may want to inspect them more often in case of a wayward object. If you have a lot of trees on your property, you should check and clean your gutters at least once a month, possibly more during the fall months.
Maintaining a community full of common areas and facilities can take a lot of time and work, but having a plan and a list in place helps lighten the burden immensely. If you use an HOA management company, they might have building and facility managers who can deal with the day-to-day for you.
Need help putting together your checklist, or thinking about using building and facility managers? Contact us and we’ll guide you in the right direction!