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Subject: Landscaping and association common grounds maintenance
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11/06/2021 9:54 PM  
In watching our landscapers and maintenance personnel. It has become extremely obvious that the performance and duties leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the statement beauty is in the eyes of the beholder may be true, but after so many years in the Association I have seen top-quality workers. Does the management company and board have the final say on Association maintenance. Who determines our maintenance and upkeep, and then when the quality of workmanship is substandard, how can this be rectified?. Just how should the maintenance and the upkeep of association be kept to standards.


11/06/2021 11:47 PM  
Per the covenants and articles of incorporation, and as a matter of law, the Board has the final say on how the grounds are maintained.

If the Board is holding open board meetings, an owner may attend and ask to make a statement. The Board has no obligation to do anything in response.

Keep in mind that nationwide, many boards think their raison d'etre is to never increase the assessment. This is not realistic. Inflation by itself will result in a board being stuck choosing lower quality services, all to avoid raising the assessment.

If a Board's decisions are not to an owner's liking, the best remedy is to run for the board and hopefully win election with a like-minded majority.

If things are really bad, many owners understandably end up selling and moving.


11/07/2021 4:57 AM  
Our HOA we were only responsible for lawncare. The HOA board hired the lawncare. Due to the variance between workmanship and other considerations, we always bid it out yearly. Does not mean we did not keep the existing one if they were doing a good job. It just meant that their contract was only yearly in case their level of lawncare was not adequate.

We can of gauged it by the number of complaints coming from the owners. Plus if it's pretty obvious not doing a good job. Remember board members are also having the same lawncare if it's for the entire place.

Having a 3 bid process for every bid helped us with renewing the good, weeding out the bad, and giving raises to those whom deserved it. Plus it helped figure out what should or should not be in the contract.

Former HOA President


11/07/2021 5:36 AM  
I agree with Augustin that by law, the decisions about maintaining common area lie with the board. The end result of that can be inconsistent maintenance standards, since "standards" is somewhat arbitrary - who sets those standards, and what happens when those standards are not affordable? What are you willing to give up in order to have pristine lawns? If the answer is "nothing", what happens if the rest of the community isn't willing to cough up the money to achieve this goal? When I was on the board, I generally prioritized repairs to buildings and infrastructure over aesthetics because a shaggy lawn isn't going to burst in the wee hours of a January morning.

For what it's worth, the quality of lawn care companies varies pretty widely. There seems to be no end of the low quality varieties (some of whom can be flat out dishonest), while you may well have to compete with other communities for the top notch ones (meaning these companies will command higher prices).

For another thing, these companies all have to compete for workers, and the supply of workers can be constrained. This past year we had to scramble to find a new company when our previous one couldn't bring back their workers due to visa issues.

So boards don't control their own destinies when it comes to hiring lawn care companies: possible supply issues as well as money will limit their choices. Sometimes you have to take what you can get and make the best of it until situations change.
(South Carolina)


11/07/2021 7:12 AM  
We are patio homes (1500sq ft units and about 15 ft between homes) with 40 side by side, single story duplexes and 30, single, one and two story homes for 112 owners. All units have a backyard surround by a 7 ft privacy fence. With the exception of inside this fence, the HOA does all landscaping. It is our highest expense (30% of our budget) and most controversial subject. When I say controversial one example is people complain about bush/shrub trimming. Some say we cut them to low. Others say we let them get to high. We know we will never be able to make everyone happy. We do not allow any owner landscape modification, plantings, etc. outside the fenced in area. What you do inside the fence is your business. Grow dope for all we care.

Out of BOD of 5, one Director is always complaining about the landscaping. At a recent BOD Director Meeting he was asked what do you suggest we do. He said hire a better landscaper. Our present landscaper has been with us for 2 years. Our prior one was with us for 3 years but he wanted a 20% increase. I asked my fellow Director do you think our present land scape does a better job then our prior landscaper? He replied yes. He says overall they do a good job but he wants the finer things like flower planting, bushes trimmed more often, trees trimmed more often etc. The other 4 BOD Members, myself included, said we are happy with it as is and anything additional is going to cost money. We are raising dues beginning in 01/01/2022 and we agreed to look at some additional services form our landscaper like flower bed planting, etc.

Bottom line, is landscaping will always be controversial as it is the first thing people see. Some will be more interested in flower beds then other aspects of landscaping.


11/07/2021 9:38 AM  
The board is made up of volunteers, who contribute time to make the community run well without getting paid for it. If the landscaping is not looking great, likely the board is not putting in much time to the association, which makes sense since they don't get paid for the time that they do contribute. Have you thought about volunteering to be on the board for your community? You might volunteer for the role of being the contact for the landscaping, and can help define what the landscaping should look like. It's possible that the vendor just needs someone to remind them to do their job, or it's possible your community might need a new vendor.

Be warned - in our community, the landscaping maintenance Board contact is a huge role and takes a lot of time.


11/07/2021 3:31 PM  
Yes, the board should be the authority on landscaping planning and execution of those plans. When I first was elected to the board, the previous board had an agenda item to address the two community entrances.
The Landscape company sent a bid that was more for a million dollar gated community. We went back and forth to whittle down the amount of plants. We first started with pulling the dead and ruined plants from
the previous landscaper and having just rock refresh at the entrances. After going back and forth on landscape planning for almost a year, we finally settled on a nice landscape plan that fit our budged.

It was good timing too because we were able to use reserve funds because our reserve study called for a landscaping refresh.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Landscaping and association common grounds maintenance

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