As a board member, you know that a key part of fulfilling your fiduciary duty is keeping your community well maintained and operational now and for the years to come. Community maintenance isn’t just about planting flowers and mowing lawns, it’s also about monitoring the condition of critical assets your community relies on every day. It’s important to stay on top of your association’s most valuable components—neglecting upkeep and deferring maintenance can have serious consequences for your bottom line. By addressing issues proactively, you can mitigate the cost of repairs and save time for your board and money for your community. Here are five community maintenance tips that will set you up for long-term success.
1. Partner with a Qualified and Experienced Maintenance Vendor
As you work to develop a lasting maintenance solution for your association, solicit bids for a maintenance vendor. Partnering with a vetted maintenance vendor will help you get consistent and reliable work, and they’ll become familiar with your community over time. The right vendor creates efficiency for your board, optimizes spending, and leads to better community operations and relationships. As an expert, they’ll provide the insightful information you need to make the best maintenance decisions for your HOA, too.
Here are a few steps to take as you search for a qualified maintenance partner:
- Hire a vendor that has a thorough understanding of your property and all its facilities.
- Verify that your chosen partner is licensed and insured.
- Request and check all references.
2. Create a Maintenance Calendar
Developing a maintenance calendar is necessary for any association that wants to progress. A maintenance calendar provides a regular maintenance schedule and notes specific areas that need attention during a particular time of year. It also serves as a valuable point of reference for new board members, so they know exactly what to expect and how to plan as they adjust to their roles.
Before creating the maintenance calendar, evaluate the common areas with your board's preferred maintenance partner. Then, complete these to-dos:
- Together, identify the assets that should be inspected and maintained on a regular basis, such as an HVAC system in the community center or the fitness center roof.
- Once you have identified each maintenance task, determine which month the task should be completed.
- Finally, calculate the cost of maintaining needed components.
3. Perform Routine Inspections
Your board can proactively address issues before they become major concerns by performing routine inspections. While you should first refer to your governing documents for guidance, a full inspection is typically recommended for communities on an annual basis. However, some associations may opt to have different sections or facilities inspected at various times throughout the year. This can help you allocate maintenance funds accordingly and spread out the cost of repairs over the fiscal year.
The inspector should evaluate all the components, features, and amenities in your community. Keep an eye out for warning signs of major issues such as:
- Peeling paint and cracked sealants
- Broken lighting
- Safety hazards on sidewalks and in other common spaces
4. Set Aside a Reserve Fund
A reserve fund is money set aside by a community association for additions to major components the association is obligated to maintain and future replacements and repairs that don't occur on an annual basis. Maintaining an adequate reserve fund allows you to plan and prepare for the inevitable repairs and updates you know will happen and can even increase property values and attract new buyers.
Reserve fund expenditures often include, but are not limited to:
- Roof replacements
- Pool pumps
- Playground equipment
- Replacing fencing in common areas
- Painting of community-associated buildings
- Major landscaping projects
- Construction and major renovations
- Road and sidewalk resurfacing
5. Keep Homeowners Informed
Extend lasting success by regularly communicating with your membership about maintenance. Educate residents about why a decision was made, explain the time and energy spent to review options, and listen to feedback. By letting homeowners know about upcoming construction, road and facility closures, and other maintenance priorities, you’re demonstrating effective leadership and good stewardship toward the community.
Maintenance that Makes a Difference Isn't One-Size-Fits-All
Your community is unique—that means your maintenance plan should be, too. Whether you live in a single-family community, condo, high-rise, or other community, there are tailored maintenance tips for your association. Read our ebook, “Caring for Every Community: Maintenance Tips for Single-family Communities, Condos, High-Rises and More,” to learn how to create a proactive maintenance plan that’ll keep every building, amenity, and landscaped area beautiful and functional for generations to come.