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Subject: board responsibility for repairs
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Author Messages
LeonaG
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/15/2021 9:43 AM  
Issue: Board (via bylaws)is clearly responsible for all fence repair (including paint). Board states that because repairing fences is not 'on the agenda this year'... they will reimburse owners for materials, but not labor. Owners will be responsible for labor to repair fences.

This seems clearly illegal considering clarity of bylaws. Would the board not be required to provide some mechanism for owners to recoup those monies? Not sure how it would work - misc. expenses contributed by owner? Written statement by board of 'contribution'?

Ideas?
AugustinD


Posts:1585


06/15/2021 9:54 AM  
Posted By LeonaG on 06/15/2021 9:43 AM
Issue: Board (via bylaws)is clearly responsible for all fence repair (including paint). Board states that because repairing fences is not 'on the agenda this year'... they will reimburse owners for materials, but not labor. Owners will be responsible for labor to repair fences.

This seems clearly illegal considering clarity of bylaws.
-- I am betting it is the covenants (not the bylaws) that say the HOA is responsible for the fences.

-- I agree with your concerns. To transfer a part of the maintenance responsibility to the owners requires a vote by the membership to amend the covenants. Liability concerns arise.

And yet, I have seen HOA membership undertake some maintenance of certain common areas (in violation of the covenants, and even with board support). It's bad practice, and it's not the "gold standard," but I admit sometimes it gets the job done a lot more quickly.

The gold standard: The Board should arrange to amend the covenants, or it should increase the assessment to pay for the painting of the fences.

Would the board not be required to provide some mechanism for owners to recoup those monies? Not sure how it would work - misc. expenses contributed by owner? Written statement by board of 'contribution'?
I do not feel attempting to estimate the value of an owner's labor is appropriate at all. Nor, in my opinion, should the board pay one cent to an owner for her or his labor to maintain a common area.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2393


06/15/2021 11:01 AM  
Playing devil's advocate for a bit:

The board has said that fence painting is not on the agenda for this year. This isn't unusual - the HOA can get better pricing from vendors for big projects, so it makes sense to bundle non-urgent repairs and maintenance. It's also not unusual for homeowners not to understand this if they want something done righthisminute. HOAs are often underfunded, they don't have a Magic Money Printing Machine somewhere, so strict budgeting is important if homeowners want assessments to remain in check.

It sounds like the board is attempting to meet the Rightthisminute Crowd half way by at least paying part of the cost of doing the fence work.

I agree that allowing homeowners to perform the work is a liability issue and shouldn't be done.

On the other hand, I wouldn't call it a violation of the governing documents. Many associations keep costs down by using homeowner volunteers to do some of the work. I personally think it's unwise for a variety of reasons, but as long as the HOA carries the enough insurance to cover itself when it gets sued over injuries, so be it.

If I were on the board, my answer would be "it's not on the agenda, we haven't budgeted for this expense this year, it will be done in 202x." End of discussion.

MaxB4


Posts:1210


06/15/2021 11:38 AM  
There is a huge difference between having to repair a fence that is HOA responsibility and painting, or maintenance. One would come out of the operating budget while the other out of the reserve budget.
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