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Keys to Creating a Comprehensive Community Maintenance Plan

As an elected leader of a homeowners’ association (HOA), you know that running a community involves much more than hosting events, attending board meetings, and building relationships with homeowners. Overseeing maintenance, including ensuring grounds are kept clean, facilities operational, and components working, is a big part of the job, too. Having a plan in place is key—how your board approaches maintenance requirements and tasks can make or break your community.

A maintenance plan is a set of directions that guides board members on when and how to perform proper repairs. The plan helps your community function correctly and adhere to its budget now and in the future. If you don’t have a maintenance plan, consider creating one today. The following tips will help you craft a comprehensive maintenance plan that’ll provide long-ranging success for your community.

Refer to Your Governing Documents

Before developing a maintenance plan for your community, refer to your governing documents. Detailing broadly what maintenance costs individual homeowners are responsible for and the financial obligation of the association, your governing documents should act as a starting point for maintenance forecasting. Within them, you’ll also find information about how to notify residents, handle payments, and store records. While each maintenance task requires a different level of funding and approvals, your governing documents must always guide board decisions. These records can be complex, but your community manager or association lawyer will have the knowledge and insight to help you decode legal language. Contact them to get clarity.

Create A Master To-Do List

Simplify and streamline your maintenance plan development by first creating a master community maintenance to-do list. Reference your reserve study and reach out to your maintenance contractor to identify the to-dos to add to your list.

Tending to your community regularly, your maintenance contractor should know what services require more frequency and the specialists involved—arborists, sanitization staff, and roofers, to name a few. A reserve study will tell you what foreseeable capital improvements and repairs are needed on the property.

As you review your reserve study and speak to your contractor, take notes. Simple notations describing the job and when it’s to be performed will help you construct a to-do list. For example:

  • Roof repairs before April
  • Schedule painting projects for dry months
  • Irrigate front entrance landscaping weekly starting March 1
  • Check heating units in August
  • Check air conditioning units in February

Categorize Maintenance Tasks

An effective maintenance plan should have a breakdown of the different types of maintenance items. Categorize your maintenance tasks into preventative, future, seasonal, and emergency maintenance sections to identify project timelines, costs, and regularity.

  • Preventative maintenance. This section highlights work that happens on a regular cycle, like painting and lightbulb replacements, and is lower in cost.
  • Future maintenance. Here, include necessary repairs of costlier items, like HVAC systems, that don’t need to be addressed as frequently, but will need future attention to maintain good working order.
  • Seasonal maintenance. Detail necessary preparations for the seasonal weather that affects your community, such as ice on roads in the winter and flooding in the spring.
  • Emergency maintenance. Focus on the unexpected breakdown or inoperability of relied-upon services. What happens when the power goes out? Who pays for the pipes that burst in a snowstorm?

These categories will give you a better understanding of the needs of your community and help you schedule out work more effectively, saving your board time and money.

Build a Thorough Maintenance Calendar

A to-do list informs you what maintenance items need to be tackled, a categorized breakdown helps prioritize, and a calendar directs you to act. A maintenance calendar should answer the who, what, when, and where of each maintenance task. The more details you can provide in your calendar, the easier it will be for you—and other board members—to prepare for and communicate upcoming projects. Make sure you’re considering these specifics as everything comes together:   

  • When you set meetings with your maintenance contractor, list a few talking points so you have an idea of priorities ahead of time.
  • Set reminders to send necessary maintenance notifications to residents—not only is this required by your governing documents, but communication also goes a long way in building trust.
  • Include your contractor’s name and phone number on scheduled tasks for quick reference.
  • Categorize your calendar, noting which projects are seasonal, immediate, future, and preventative to allow an easy transfer from your maintenance plan.
  • Create a long-range calendar for future maintenance. Refer to your maintenance plan to identify projects that need to be conducted annually, semi-annually, etc.

Whether it’s a physical calendar that can be posted in a community building or a digital calendar that can be shared among board members, all key stakeholders should be able to reference it and use it to achieve your community’s vision for the future. With a detailed maintenance calendar that includes all current and upcoming projects, you’re successfully delivering on your fiduciary duty as a board member to provide a comfortable and functional community residents can call home for years to come.

Extend the Life of Your Community

By following these tips, your homeowners’ association should be able to craft a maintenance plan of action that works. Read our ebook, “Winter Maintenance Checklist,” for information on what you need to watch out for as temperatures drop, including ice on roads and snow in trees.