HOA vs City Maintenance And Repair Responsibilities

HOA vs city maintenance — the line can blur sometimes. Understanding the division of responsibilities between a homeowners association and the city can be complex when it comes to property upkeep and repairs. However, it is necessary to delineate maintenance duties to ensure accountability, proper upkeep, and property value preservation.

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HOA vs city maintenance — the line can blur sometimes. Understanding the division of responsibilities between a homeowners association and the city can be complex when it comes to property upkeep and repairs. However, it is necessary to delineate maintenance duties to ensure accountability, proper upkeep, and property value preservation.


HOA vs City Maintenance: Who is Responsible for What?

Maintenance is a key aspect of managing a homeowners association. However, not everything falls under the HOA’s responsibility. When a homeowner encounters a maintenance issue, knowing who to report it to is essential. Similarly, board members should understand what maintenance responsibilities are covered by the HOA and what aren’t.


Check the Governing Documents

The first step in determining HOA vs city repairs and maintenance responsibilities is to consult the HOA’s governing documents. These documents, including the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and rules and regulations, outline the scope of the HOA’s duties. They specify the areas the HOA is responsible for maintaining and repairing, such as common areas, shared facilities, and specific infrastructure within the community.

Homeowners typically receive a copy of the governing documents when moving in. However, if they wish to obtain another, they can always file a request with the HOA board. Most states, such as California, have laws that protect homeowners’ right to inspect an HOA’s records. Many associations also make their documents easily accessible through a website.


The General Rule: HOA and City Maintenance Responsibilities

Generally, the HOA is responsible for common areas and shared amenities within the community, while the city handles public infrastructure and services. However, the specifics can vary significantly based on the HOA’s governing documents and local regulations.

More often than not, the HOA shoulders maintenance responsibilities for the following:

  • Common spaces such as hallways, elevators, and lobbies
  • Amenities and facilities such as clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness centers, and tennis courts
  • Landscaping in common areas
  • Private roads and parking lots

In condominiums, maintenance responsibilities typically also extend to the following:

  • Exterior maintenance of the condo building
  • Roofs
  • HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems


Is the HOA Responsible for Maintaining Roads?

Is the HOA Responsible for Maintaining Roads?One of the most common questions regarding HOA vs city maintenance involves road upkeep. In general, the answer depends on whether the roads within the community are private or public.


Private Roads

If the roads within an HOA community are private, which means the HOA owns them, the HOA is usually responsible for their maintenance and repair. This includes resurfacing, pothole repairs, snow removal, and street lighting. The HOA board typically incorporates the cost for these services within the annual budget.


Public Roads

If the roads are public, which means the HOA does not own them, they fall under the jurisdiction of the city or municipality. In this case, the city is responsible for maintaining and repairing the roads. Homeowners should report issues, such as potholes or damaged streetlights, to the city’s public works department.


Who to Call for City Maintenance

When a maintenance issue arises, homeowners should know whom to contact for timely resolution. For items that fall under the HOA’s responsibility, homeowners should contact the HOA board or manager.

For issues related to public infrastructure, homeowners should reach out to the city’s public works or maintenance department. These include issues involving public roads, sidewalks, streetlights, and public parks. Most cities have a dedicated hotline or online portal for reporting such issues.

For emergency situations, such as water main breaks or downed power lines, homeowners should contact the city’s emergency services or utility companies directly.


Homeowner Maintenance Responsibilities

Homeowners also have individual maintenance obligations within their properties. To know the extent of these obligations, it is essential to check the governing documents.

More often than not, though, homeowner maintenance responsibilities cover the following:

  • Exterior Maintenance. Homeowners are responsible for maintaining their property’s exterior, including the roof, walls, windows, and landscaping. This may not always be the case for condo communities, though. Additionally, homeowners should check their architectural guidelines before making any exterior changes. Typically, homeowners must seek approval from their HOA before any modifications.
  • Utilities. Homeowners must maintain the utility connections from their homes to the primary service lines, such as plumbing, electrical, and sewage systems.
  • Sidewalks and Driveways. Depending on local regulations, homeowners may be responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and driveways within their property boundaries.


Establishing an HOA Maintenance Request System

HOAs should establish an efficient maintenance request system to streamline maintenance and repair processes. This system should enable homeowners to report issues promptly and track the progress of their requests.

Here are some key components of an effective HOA maintenance request system:


1. Online Portal

An online portal allows homeowners to submit maintenance requests, upload photos, and provide detailed descriptions of the issues. For communities with an older demographic, though, having an online portal may prove difficult. Elderly residents may not know how to use the system, so boards should make sure to offer traditional methods for reporting issues.


2. Clear Procedures

The HOA should outline clear procedures for handling maintenance requests. This includes response times and prioritization criteria. Board members should check the requests regularly to avoid missing ugrent requests. Alternatively, hiring an HOA management company to take care of this task can also be helpful.


3. Communication

Regular communication updates keep homeowners informed about the status of their requests and any ongoing maintenance work within the community. Board members should remember to disseminate information promptly and systematically. If there are maintenance or repair projects on the docket, let homeowners know of the schedule ahead of time.


4. Feedback Mechanism

A feedback mechanism helps the HOA improve its maintenance services by addressing homeowners’ concerns and suggestions. It is always a good idea to seek input from residents, as this contributes to a well-functioning association. It also shows homeowners that the HOA board values their opinions and establishes trust.


The Final Word on HOA vs City Maintenance

Navigating the division of maintenance responsibilities between an HOA and the city can be challenging. However, understanding the key distinctions is crucial for homeowners and board members. Maintenance responsibilities largely depend on the specifics outlined in the HOA’s governing documents and local laws.

An HOA management company can lighten the board’s workload when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Start looking for a reliable one in your area using our online directory!



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