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The Ultimate Guide to Community Association Repairs for Board Members

Explore key aspects of community association repairs, including board responsibilities and payment. Essential reading for board members.
Camille Moore | May 17, 2024 | 8 min read
maintenance sign in chalk
The Ultimate Guide to Community Association Repairs for Board Members

As community association board members, you hold the key to ensuring that your community remains safe, beautiful, and well-maintained for all residents. From coordinating maintenance schedules to handling emergency repairs, your role is pivotal in upholding the value and appeal of your neighborhood. 

This guide isn't just about fixing broken pipes or patching up walls – it's about empowering you with the expertise to make informed decisions that benefit everyone within your community. So grab your toolkit and get ready to go on a journey towards keeping your community running smoothly!

Understanding Community Associations

At their core, community associations are founded on the principle of collective responsibility and shared decision-making in a residential neighborhood. Homeowners typically come together to address common concerns, manage communal amenities, and uphold community standards. Whether it's maintaining common areas, organizing events, or enforcing regulations, these associations play a vital role in preserving the quality of life within the community.

One of the key aspects of community associations is their democratic structure. Members elect a board of directors to represent their interests and make decisions on behalf of the community. Below are some of the other ways community associations plan an important role. 

Managing Common Areas

Community association board members are responsible for maintaining and managing shared spaces within a neighborhood or housing development. This can include parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, clubhouses, and landscaping.

Key aspects of managing common areas include:

  • Safety: Ensuring playgrounds, pools, and recreational areas are safe and compliant with regulations.
  • Maintenance: Keeping parks and green spaces free of litter and ensuring landscaping is attractive and well-kept.
  • Accessibility: Providing proper signage, ramps, or pathways to make common areas easily accessible to all residents.

Enforcing Rules and Regulations

Community associations often establish rules and regulations to maintain order and uphold community standards. These rules may cover issues such as property maintenance, noise levels, pet policies, and architectural guidelines. By enforcing these regulations, associations help create a harmonious living environment and protect property values.

Organizing Community Events

Community associations often organize social events, educational workshops, and recreational activities to bring residents together and foster a sense of belonging. These events provide opportunities for neighbors to meet, interact, and build relationships, strengthening the fabric of the community.

Mediating Disputes

Conflicts and disputes can arise among residents over issues such as property boundaries, noise disturbances, or disagreements regarding community policies. In such cases, board members play an important role in mediating these disputes by facilitating dialogue and seeking resolutions. If the association employs a management company, the community association manager (CAM) collaborates with the board to address and resolve these conflicts. 

Effective mediation methods include:

  • Clear Policies: Establishing guidelines on handling disputes and communicating them to all residents.
  • Neutral Mediators: Using impartial third parties to facilitate discussion and negotiation.
  • Appeals Process: Offering residents the opportunity to appeal decisions made by the board.

By facilitating constructive communication and negotiation, associations help maintain peace and harmony within the neighborhood.

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Board Responsibilities in Maintenance and Repairs

Board members have significant responsibilities when it comes to maintenance and repairs within the community. These responsibilities often include the following:

Developing Maintenance Plans

The board should create a comprehensive maintenance plan outlining regular upkeep tasks for common areas, amenities, and infrastructure. This plan ensures that the property remains in good condition and can help prevent costly repairs by addressing issues proactively. 

Considerations for a robust maintenance plan:

  • Emergency Response: Include procedures for rapid response to unexpected incidents such as plumbing leaks or electrical failures.
  • Vendor List: Maintain a list of trusted vendors for quick reference during unexpected maintenance needs.

Please keep in mind that the board is not typically responsible for maintenance or repairs inside or outside of the homes within the community. In some cases, exceptions are made in communities where there are attached dwellings. 


The board is responsible for creating and managing the association's budget, which includes allocating funds for maintenance and repairs. They must ensure that sufficient funds are set aside to cover ongoing maintenance expenses and unexpected repairs.

Hiring Vendors

When maintenance or repairs require specialized skills or equipment, the board may need to hire contractors or service providers. This could include landscapers, plumbers, electricians, or general contractors for larger projects. The board should solicit bids, review contracts, and oversee the work to ensure quality and compliance with the association's standards.

Enforcing Maintenance Standards

Community association boards typically establish guidelines and standards for property maintenance within the community. They are responsible for enforcing these rules and ensuring that homeowners comply with them. This may involve issuing warnings or fines to residents who fail to maintain their properties adequately.

Regular Inspections of Common Spaces

The board should conduct regular inspections of common areas and facilities to identify maintenance needs and potential safety hazards.

Example inspection techniques: 

  • Use of Technology: Employ drones or digital imaging to inspect hard-to-reach areas or to monitor the condition of roofs and facades.
  • Community Walk-throughs: Organize quarterly walk-throughs with residents to gather feedback and identify concerns not captured during regular inspections.

Regular and thorough inspections ensure a proactive approach to maintenance and safety, minimizing larger issues in the future.

Maintaining Records

Boards should keep thorough records of maintenance activities, repairs, inspections, and related financial transactions. This documentation is essential for accountability, budgeting purposes, and providing historical context for future board members.

It’s important to note that if your community has hired an HOA management company, your community association manager (CAM) will likely take on most or all of these responsibilities.

Financial Responsibilities: Who Pays for What

In a community association, repairs are typically funded through a combination of regular fees, special assessments, and reserve funds. Here's a quick breakdown of how these funding sources are utilized:

Regular Fees

Homeowners fees to the association, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis. These fees cover ongoing expenses such as maintenance, utilities, insurance, landscaping, and other operational costs. A portion may also be allocated to the reserve fund for future repairs and capital improvements.

Special Assessments

In addition to regular fees, association may levy special assessments to cover unexpected or significant repair costs that exceed the funds available in the reserve account. Special assessments are typically one-time fees charged to homeowners when there is a need for immediate funding to address critical repairs or maintenance projects. These assessments are often approved by a vote of the board.

Reserve Fund

The reserve fund is a separate account set aside specifically for funding major repairs, replacements, and capital improvements within the community. Contributions to the reserve fund are typically determined based on a reserve study, which assesses the useful life of common assets (such as roofs, roads, buildings, etc.) and estimates the future repair and replacement costs. Reserve fund contributions are collected from regular dues and may be supplemented by interest earnings or special assessments.

Importance of the Reserve Fund

The reserve fund is crucial because it ensures that the association has sufficient funds available to cover major repairs and replacements without relying solely on special assessments or borrowing. 

By maintaining a healthy reserve fund, the association can spread out the cost of long-term maintenance projects over time, avoiding sudden financial burdens on homeowners. Additionally, a well-funded reserve demonstrates financial stability to lenders, potential buyers, and insurance providers, which can help maintain property values and reduce risk.

Reserve Study

Conducting a reserve study is essential for accurately assessing the current condition of common assets, estimating future repair and replacement costs, and determining appropriate reserve fund contributions. A reserve study should be updated regularly to account for changes in the condition of assets, fluctuations in repair costs, and evolving community needs.

Navigating the Repair Process

Navigating the repair process within a community association involves several steps to ensure that issues are identified, addressed, and resolved effectively. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Identifying Problems

The first step is to identify maintenance or repair issues within the community. This can be done through regular inspections, reports from homeowners, or feedback from the management company (if applicable). Common issues may include structural damage, malfunctioning equipment, landscaping issues, or safety hazards.

Assessing the Severity

Once a problem is identified, the board or management company should assess the severity and urgency of the issue. Some repairs may require immediate attention to prevent further damage or safety risks, while others may be less urgent but still need to be addressed in a timely manner.

Obtaining Multiple Quotes

For significant repairs or projects, it's essential to obtain multiple quotes from reputable vendors or contractors. This helps ensure competitive pricing and allows the association to compare services, qualifications, and timelines. Having a preferred vendor list can streamline this process by providing a pre-approved list of trusted contractors or service providers.

Reviewing Quotes and Selecting a Vendor

Once quotes are obtained, the board should review them carefully, considering factors such as cost, scope of work, warranties, references, and reliability. It's important to select a vendor who offers quality workmanship and meets the association's needs and budgetary constraints. 

Contract Negotiation and Approval

After selecting a vendor, the board should negotiate the terms of the contract and ensure that all relevant details are documented in writing. This includes the scope of work, timeline, payment terms, warranties, insurance coverage, and any other specific requirements. Once the contract is finalized, it should be approved by the board or relevant decision-making body.

Communicating with Homeowners

Throughout the repair process, transparent communication with homeowners is essential. The board should keep residents informed about the nature of the repair, anticipated timelines, any temporary disruptions or inconveniences, and how the repair will be funded (e.g., through regular dues, reserve funds, or special assessments).

Monitoring Progress

The association should monitor the progress of the repair work to ensure that it is being completed according to the agreed-upon terms and timeline. Regular updates from the vendor and site inspections can help identify any issues or delays early on and address them promptly.

Completion and Follow-Up

Once the repair work is completed, the board should conduct a final inspection to ensure that the repairs meet the required standards and specifications. Any deficiencies should be addressed promptly by the vendor. After the repairs are deemed satisfactory, the board should communicate with homeowners to inform them of the completion and any follow-up instructions.

Legal and Compliance Considerations

Ensuring that all laws and regulations are followed should be a top priority when managing community association repairs. Associations must adhere to local laws, regulations, and association bylaws governing property maintenance and repairs. 

Compliance with building codes and safety regulations is essential to ensure structural integrity and safety. Obtaining necessary permits for repair projects and ensuring contractual compliance with vendors are also essential. In addition, thorough documentation of repair activities, including permits, contracts, and correspondence, helps demonstrate compliance and mitigate risks. 

Communication and Decision-Making

Navigating repairs within community associations requires a multi-faceted approach encompassing legal compliance, financial responsibility, and effective communication. Board members must remain diligent in ensuring that the community is properly maintained. 

While the technical aspects of repairs are essential, the human element cannot be overlooked. Communication with homeowners serves as the linchpin that ties all these components together. By prioritizing communication, fairness, and proactive measures, board members can effectively uphold their responsibilities and promote the well-being of their community.


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