Category Archives: hoa pool

What is the average cost for a property management company in Marietta, Woodstock and Kennesaw?


Fence 2imagesHOA management companies often work under a contract for a monthly fee. But how is that the amount calculated? In general, it is based on the estimated time needed to perform the tasks outlined in the Management Contract. There is often a workload of tasks that are not considered routine.

So what goes into the monthly management fee? There are fixed costs such as rent, phones, copiers, computers, insurance, and the internet. The workforce is based on the estimated time needed to perform the prescribed work. Total fixed costs and labor plus profit margin are equal to the monthly management fee. It is common to divide this number by the total number of units / lots. (In Georgia, the average is between $ 10-25/door for condominiums.)  Size and staff required matters: HOA’s pay less per home.

Typically, an Owners Association will be assigned a manager, an accountant, a maintenance supervisor, and possibly an administrative assistant to the account. The administrator can manage 10-15 accounts.

Staff salary levels can have a major impact on management fees. If a Homeowners Association wants experienced professionals, there is a price to pay. A qualified HOA manager attends seminars, has credentials and professional designations and focuses exclusively on HOA management. The Homeowners Association will benefit from this training and experience so expect to pay accordingly.

Managers spend much of their time to prepare and monitor Board and Annual meetings. For a typical board meeting, the manager gathers information and prepares  reports, reviews the financial statements and relevant correspondence.  The Board puts together packages or emails messages to each member.

Most Board and Annual meetings are held in the evenings from Monday to Friday at the Homeowners Association so that the manager is not required to work weekends; which costs money to Homeowners Association, this is incorporated into the contract. After the meeting, the Community Association Manager has a long list to follow-up on which occupies most of the following week. A manager can spend many hours on business related to the meeting.

Another cost savings is in charge of managing insurance claims and damage reconstruction. Insurance inquiries can take many hours of a manager’s time. If the management contract specifically provides that the insurance claim work is an additional cost to the HOA, the management company can collect the insurance claim by the time it takes to manage a claim and the renovation work. A similar principle is the time spent on collections or legal action against a delinquent account. This time, management will be charged to the HOA.
Are disclosure statements provided to homeowners who are selling their homes and lenders to buyers? The management company  bills owners and buyers so that the Homeowners’ Association does not assume the costs.

These are just some ways that management costs can be cut. Be sensitive to the time of your manager and not pile on unnecessary tasks that ultimately increase the costs. While it is important to get what you pay for, it is equally important to pay extra for additional services. The best approach is to establish an alliance with the management company and adjust the time and workload demands.

HOA managers are dedicated and waiting to serve. Put them to work for your homeowners association and actually rejoice in the carefree lifestyle advertised in the brochure.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

Think Before You Lease Your HOA Amenities to Outside-Residents


Many associations are considering a range of revenue-generating measures to offset ever-tightening budgets. But before you rent out your clubhouse or sell memberships to your golf course, pool, tennis courts, or other facilities to non-owners, keep a few critical rules in mind.

Think About It

1) Consider the liability. The biggest issue that keeps associations from renting out their facilities to non-owners is liability. Check with your insurance carrier to find out if injuries to non-owners and injuries caused by non-owners would be covered under your current policy. Chances are they won’t, and it’ll be much more expensive to expand your policy to include that coverage. Once you know the additional insurance costs, you need to weigh them against the potential new revenue to determine whether the financial gain adequately offsets the added cost.

2) Which facilities will you rent? Don’t automatically assume that you should rent all your facilities to the public. For example, you may find that it’s too expensive and the liability is too great to allow public assess to your pool, but the increased insurance costs and limited risk of personal injury in allowing non-owners to use your clubhouse is acceptable. Evaluate each amenity individually before making any decisions.

3) Who’s in, and who’s out? Ask yourself whether it’s necessary—and permissible—to place limits on whom you’ll allow to be guests. For instance, your association might be heavily populated by seniors who prefer not to lounge at the pool while children happily scream and perform cannonballs. But banning children might open your association up to family law discrimination claims, even if those claims end up being frivolous. Similarly, opening your golf course to novice and sometimes ill-behaved players may transform your residents’ peaceful round of golf into a high-tension activity. On the other hand, allowing an aerobics instructor to conduct classes in your gym or allowing personal trainers to use the same facilities to train nonresidents during certain hours may not bother residents—who may actually appreciate the convenience of those services. In addition, you may be able to require instructors or trainers to include your association as an additional insured under their liability insurance policy, which would limit your liability. Whatever the amenity, get residents’ feedback on whether they’ll feel comfortable sharing it with non-residents.

4) Know the laws that apply. Remember that once you allow the public to use your facilities, your association will be subject to new laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Do your facilities meet the requirements of the ADA? If not, what would it cost to bring them up to compliance, and do those costs outweigh the revenue? Also, renting out your clubhouse for such events as weddings and parties will open up the issue of liquor liability. You can require that guests not bring alcohol onto your property, but that rule can be hard to enforce, and it may limit the facility’s appeal. If you allow the consumption of alcohol, you’ll again have to check with your insurer to determine how that affects your coverage.

5) Don’t forget the added expenses. It sounds great to be able to supplement your association’s income, but how many people will sign up to use your newly available facilities if you don’t market them? You’ll probably have to pay a salesperson or marketing firm to advertise your facilities, so be sure to add those expenses into your cost versus revenue calculation.

There are so many issues to consider before allowing nonresidents to use your facilities that it’s unwise to make the decision without professional guidance. So be sure to run your ideas by an attorney or professional management association with experience on the issue. Reviewing these five questions with your board and researching insurance costs in advance will help you be prepared and minimize the time and money you spend to get that critical advice.

Source: http://www.communityassociationmanagement.com/facilities-a-maintenance/amenities/

Call Riverside Property Management of Kennesaw for more information!

678-866-1436 or www.riversidepropertymgt.com

Think Before You Lease Your HOA Amenities to Outside-Residents


Many associations are considering a range of revenue-generating measures to offset ever-tightening budgets. But before you rent out your clubhouse or sell memberships to your golf course, pool, tennis courts, or other facilities to non-owners, keep a few critical rules in mind.

Think About It

1) Consider the liability. The biggest issue that keeps associations from renting out their facilities to non-owners is liability. Check with your insurance carrier to find out if injuries to non-owners and injuries caused by non-owners would be covered under your current policy. Chances are they won’t, and it’ll be much more expensive to expand your policy to include that coverage. Once you know the additional insurance costs, you need to weigh them against the potential new revenue to determine whether the financial gain adequately offsets the added cost.

2) Which facilities will you rent? Don’t automatically assume that you should rent all your facilities to the public. For example, you may find that it’s too expensive and the liability is too great to allow public assess to your pool, but the increased insurance costs and limited risk of personal injury in allowing non-owners to use your clubhouse is acceptable. Evaluate each amenity individually before making any decisions.

3) Who’s in, and who’s out? Ask yourself whether it’s necessary—and permissible—to place limits on whom you’ll allow to be guests. For instance, your association might be heavily populated by seniors who prefer not to lounge at the pool while children happily scream and perform cannonballs. But banning children might open your association up to family law discrimination claims, even if those claims end up being frivolous. Similarly, opening your golf course to novice and sometimes ill-behaved players may transform your residents’ peaceful round of golf into a high-tension activity. On the other hand, allowing an aerobics instructor to conduct classes in your gym or allowing personal trainers to use the same facilities to train nonresidents during certain hours may not bother residents—who may actually appreciate the convenience of those services. In addition, you may be able to require instructors or trainers to include your association as an additional insured under their liability insurance policy, which would limit your liability. Whatever the amenity, get residents’ feedback on whether they’ll feel comfortable sharing it with non-residents.

4) Know the laws that apply. Remember that once you allow the public to use your facilities, your association will be subject to new laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Do your facilities meet the requirements of the ADA? If not, what would it cost to bring them up to compliance, and do those costs outweigh the revenue? Also, renting out your clubhouse for such events as weddings and parties will open up the issue of liquor liability. You can require that guests not bring alcohol onto your property, but that rule can be hard to enforce, and it may limit the facility’s appeal. If you allow the consumption of alcohol, you’ll again have to check with your insurer to determine how that affects your coverage.

5) Don’t forget the added expenses. It sounds great to be able to supplement your association’s income, but how many people will sign up to use your newly available facilities if you don’t market them? You’ll probably have to pay a salesperson or marketing firm to advertise your facilities, so be sure to add those expenses into your cost versus revenue calculation.

There are so many issues to consider before allowing nonresidents to use your facilities that it’s unwise to make the decision without professional guidance. So be sure to run your ideas by an attorney or professional management association with experience on the issue. Reviewing these five questions with your board and researching insurance costs in advance will help you be prepared and minimize the time and money you spend to get that critical advice.

Source: http://www.communityassociationmanagement.com/facilities-a-maintenance/amenities/

Call Riverside Property Management of Kennesaw for more information!

678-866-1436 or www.riversidepropertymgt.com

What is the average cost for a property management company in Marietta and Kennesaw?


Summer Fun at the Homeowners Associaition Pool

Summer Fun at the Homeowners Association Pool

HOA management companies often work under a contract for a monthly fee. But how is that the amount calculated? In general, it is based on the estimated time needed to perform the tasks outlined in the Management Contract. There is often a workload of tasks that are not considered routine.

So what goes into the monthly management fee? There are fixed costs such as rent, phones, copiers, computers, insurance, and the internet. The workforce is based on the estimated time needed to perform the prescribed work. Total fixed costs and labor plus profit margin are equal to the monthly management fee. It is common to divide this number by the total number of units / lots. (In Georgia, the average is between $ 10-25/door for condominiums.)  Size and staff required matters: HOA’s pay less per home.

Typically, an Owners Association will be assigned a manager, an accountant, a maintenance supervisor, and possibly an administrative assistant to the account. The administrator can manage 10-15 accounts.

Staff salary levels can have a major impact on management fees. If a Homeowners Association wants experienced professionals, there is a price to pay. A qualified HOA manager attends seminars, has credentials and professional designations and focuses exclusively on HOA management. The Homeowners Association will benefit from this training and experience so expect to pay accordingly.

Managers spend much of their time to prepare and monitor Board and Annual meetings. For a typical board meeting, the manager gathers information and prepares  reports, reviews the financial statements and relevant correspondence.  The Board puts together packages or emails messages to each member.

Most Board and Annual meetings are held in the evenings from Monday to Friday at the Homeowners Association so that the manager is not required to work weekends; which costs money to Homeowners Association, this is incorporated into the contract. After the meeting, the Community Association Manager has a long list to follow-up on which occupies most of the following week. A manager can spend many hours on business related to the meeting.

Another cost savings is in charge of managing insurance claims and damage reconstruction. Insurance inquiries can take many hours of a manager’s time. If the management contract specifically provides that the insurance claim work is an additional cost to the HOA, the management company can collect the insurance claim by the time it takes to manage a claim and the renovation work. A similar principle is the time spent on collections or legal action against a delinquent account. This time, management will be charged to the HOA.
Are disclosure statements provided to homeowners who are selling their homes and lenders to buyers? The management company  bills owners and buyers so that the Homeowners’ Association does not assume the costs.

These are just some ways that management costs can be cut. Be sensitive to the time of your manager and not pile on unnecessary tasks that ultimately increase the costs. While it is important to get what you pay for, it is equally important to pay extra for additional services. The best approach is to establish an alliance with the management company and adjust the time and workload demands.

HOA managers are dedicated and waiting to serve. Put them to work for your homeowners association and actually rejoice in the carefree lifestyle advertised in the brochure.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

 

Think Before You Lease Your HOA Amenities to Non-Residents


Many associations are considering a range of revenue-generating measures to offset ever-tightening budgets. But before you rent out your clubhouse or sell memberships to your golf course, pool, tennis courts, or other facilities to non-owners, keep a few critical rules in mind.

Think About It

1) Consider the liability. The biggest issue that keeps associations from renting out their facilities to non-owners is liability. Check with your insurance carrier to find out if injuries to non-owners and injuries caused by non-owners would be covered under your current policy. Chances are they won’t, and it’ll be much more expensive to expand your policy to include that coverage. Once you know the additional insurance costs, you need to weigh them against the potential new revenue to determine whether the financial gain adequately offsets the added cost.

2) Which facilities will you rent? Don’t automatically assume that you should rent all your facilities to the public. For example, you may find that it’s too expensive and the liability is too great to allow public assess to your pool, but the increased insurance costs and limited risk of personal injury in allowing non-owners to use your clubhouse is acceptable. Evaluate each amenity individually before making any decisions.

3) Who’s in, and who’s out? Ask yourself whether it’s necessary—and permissible—to place limits on whom you’ll allow to be guests. For instance, your association might be heavily populated by seniors who prefer not to lounge at the pool while children happily scream and perform cannonballs. But banning children might open your association up to family law discrimination claims, even if those claims end up being frivolous. Similarly, opening your golf course to novice and sometimes ill-behaved players may transform your residents’ peaceful round of golf into a high-tension activity. On the other hand, allowing an aerobics instructor to conduct classes in your gym or allowing personal trainers to use the same facilities to train nonresidents during certain hours may not bother residents—who may actually appreciate the convenience of those services. In addition, you may be able to require instructors or trainers to include your association as an additional insured under their liability insurance policy, which would limit your liability. Whatever the amenity, get residents’ feedback on whether they’ll feel comfortable sharing it with non-residents.

4) Know the laws that apply. Remember that once you allow the public to use your facilities, your association will be subject to new laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Do your facilities meet the requirements of the ADA? If not, what would it cost to bring them up to compliance, and do those costs outweigh the revenue? Also, renting out your clubhouse for such events as weddings and parties will open up the issue of liquor liability. You can require that guests not bring alcohol onto your property, but that rule can be hard to enforce, and it may limit the facility’s appeal. If you allow the consumption of alcohol, you’ll again have to check with your insurer to determine how that affects your coverage.

5) Don’t forget the added expenses. It sounds great to be able to supplement your association’s income, but how many people will sign up to use your newly available facilities if you don’t market them? You’ll probably have to pay a salesperson or marketing firm to advertise your facilities, so be sure to add those expenses into your cost versus revenue calculation.

There are so many issues to consider before allowing nonresidents to use your facilities that it’s unwise to make the decision without professional guidance. So be sure to run your ideas by an attorney or professional management association with experience on the issue. Reviewing these five questions with your board and researching insurance costs in advance will help you be prepared and minimize the time and money you spend to get that critical advice.

Source: http://www.communityassociationmanagement.com/facilities-a-maintenance/amenities/

Call Riverside Property Management of Kennesaw for more information!

678-866-1436 or www.riversidepropertymgt.com

 

Trying to save money? Beware of hiring unlicensed contractors. They could be more expensive than you think.


A West Virginia man probably never thought he could be held liable for more than $1 million when he hired an electrician to replace a circuit breaker in his mother’s house.

Community Association Pool

A California community association never expected to be found responsible when a contractor’s employee was electrocuted while installing new rain gutters.

BUT THAT’S EXACTLY what happened.  In both cases the workers were unlicensed-and, the results were costly for those who hired them.

“Poor Workmanship may cause or exacerbate other problems, in some instances impairing the structural integrity of a building or improvement.  Thus, the quick and inexpensive repair may produce exactly the opposite result – increased expenses and delays.”

With escalating energy and fuel costs, increased delinquencies and bad debt resulting from current economic conditions,  Your community association board may be looking to trim expenses anywhere it can,  especially with repair and maintenance work.

Some community leaders and residents believe they can reduce costs by using day laborers or community volunteers instead of licensed contractors for such jobs.  Others might believe that licenses or permits aren’t required for smaller projects or that the permit process is a waste of time and an unnecessary expense.  Before you take another step, consider the potentially costly consequences.

BUYER BEWARE

Some of the drawbacks of using an unlicensed contractor are obvious.  Shoddy workmanship, inability to enforce warranties, lack of manufacturer warranties, damages to the property and improvements and failure of completed work to comply with applicable building codes are frequent complaints.  If the work performed by the contractor does not comply with local or state codes and ordinances, the building department or agency with jurisdiction may stop the work and, if the work is complete, require corrective work to be performed.  Corrective work may consist of hiring a licensed contractor to remove the improvement altogether or prepare and submit the documents necessary to obtain a permit.  Of course, the corrective work is an additional expense not contemplated when initially engaging the contractor.  Moreover, the local enforcement authority generally has the power to levy fines for building code violations.  The fines, which may accrue on a daily basis, may result in a lien against the property.

https://i2.wp.com/www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/15502020/1/15502020-cartoon-plumber-with-monkey-wrench-running.jpg

Poor Workmanship may cause or exacerbate other problems, in some instances impairing the structural integrity of a building or improvement.  Thus, the quick and inexpensive repair may produce exactly the opposite result – increased expenses and delays.

Unlicensed contractors requiring large upfront payments without performing the services leave the property owners without much recourse because state recovery programs are often limited to resolving disputes with licensed contractors.  If the work is done well, is any harm done?  What about small projects that are not likely to result in building code violations or major damages, such as installing gutters, replacing a few roof tiles or hanging a ceiling fan?  Why can’t residents volunteer to help out when it comes to certain maintenance projects?  Is hiring someone who is licensed in another state such a bad idea?

UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES

Using an unlicensed contractor may have negative impacts that are immediate or delayed.  That’s a lesson learned by the man in West Virginia after he hired an electrician to do some work on his mother’s house.  Sometime later, a cable company employee was working on a cable attached to a nearby utility pole and fell, breaking his hip.  The cable company worker filed suit against the utility company, the cable company and this West Virginia man, the son of the owner of the property.  The injured cable worker claimed the wiring from the utility pole to the circuit breaker was faulty and later discovered that the electrician that the man had hired was not licensed to perform the work.

In a community association, all owners and residents are affected when problems result from code violations.  How would you feel if what you considered a routine project for your unit resulted in displacing almost half of the residents of your building?  Residents of a condominium development in Florida have paid dearly – both emotionally and financially – when a do-it-yourself home improvement project went awry.  A fire started in the condominium unit when an improperly mounted ceiling fan fell and created a short circuit.  An analysis revealed there was no fan box, as required by the city’s building code.  Also, the fan was attached to the drywall with just a toggle bolt instead of being secured to a ceiling joist or beam.  While the association’s master insurance policy covered most of the repair work, it did not reimburse the owners for replacement housing, furniture storage or the long, costly legal battle that ensued.

CHECK IT OUT

We require all vendors to pass a rigorous screening process before being approved to service any of the associations we manage.  Vendors are also required to provide Proof of, and continuously maintain workman’s compensation & liability coverage to avoid cancelation of their contracts.

Associations should require contractors to provide proof that they are licensed and insured.  Ask to see a copy of their license.  Ask for a copy of their liability and worker’s compensation insurance.  If the contractor won’t provide proof of insurance or the declaration page for insurance has a different name, steer clear.  You can also find out whether a contractor is licensed by going to the appropriate state agency.

Associations and consumers in general, should be suspicious if a contractor asks for a large down payment, requests payments be made to an individual rather than the company or asks that checks be made payable to “cash”.  If you are told the work doesn’t require a building permit or you’re asked to apply for the permit yourself, you should also be concerned.

Board members have a fiduciary duty to the association and its members to make decisions in good faith, as a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances, and in the best interest of the community.  While board members may rely upon the advice of experts, and they often have a stronger legal defense when they do so, they must insure they have the information necessary to make informed decisions.

Cutting corners-either in time or money-can have costly consequences.

Read from source at http://www.communityassociationmanagement.com/facilities-a-maintenance/vendorscontractors/202-cutting-corners.html

HOA meeting Seats


http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/Campbell-round-table.jpg

Where you sit in a meeting that determines where you are. Foreign diplomats are particularly careful in choosing the shape of the table and sits next to who, from the slightest misstep can have disastrous results. King Arthur held their meetings at the round table so everyone can participate freely without the king dictating the debate. There are lessons to be learned from this experience that can be applied millennia to deal with HOAs and membership meetings. Each format requires different considerations seats.

Board meetings are designed for regular business transactions for the care and welfare of millions of dollars frequency of active members. As such, they should be held at places and times conducive to business. Meetings held in someone’s home, be a challenge.

At Council meetings start. Members are entitled to attend board meetings as an audience, not participants in the discussion or vote. To facilitate this right, there should be seats for a reasonable number of them. If meetings are held in small rooms with space only for the board, guests are shut out and the impression is that they are welcome. They look for the house has wider to accommodate so much advice and guests.

Avoid the use of living rooms with the exception of guest seating. It is very difficult to juggle the documents or take notes while sitting in a Lazy Boy. Meetings should be held at a table large enough to extend the programs, reports and other documents without having to continuously mix the pile. If using a kitchen table, remove everything except items meeting. Turn off cell phones home and during the meeting because the sound is always interrupted the discussion and pull someone out of the company in question.

If a pit boss, the president should sit down and address the meeting. The head of the table is the historical place of authority and no reason to buck tradition. The secretary records should sit at the opposite end of the table so that all directors can be more easily seen and heard. Customers should not sit at the table meeting of the board as this is an invitation to participate actively in the business.

Avoid the temptation to have the board to guests as a “panel”. This format of seats also invites the participation of the guests and makes it difficult for the board to talk to each other.

Formal meetings of the Board Ideally the board should meet in a place that is designed for meetings. Basics include a large conference table, good lighting, bathrooms, climate control and room for guests. If none exists in the HOA, find meeting rooms in the area of ​​community centers, libraries and churches. They can be closer and cheaper than you think.

There are several advantages to advance “the kitchen” in a formal meeting. The potential for distraction is greatly reduced: no phones, food, television, children, dogs and neighbors. The business meeting takes a real “business” of nature. People are less likely to remain in this environment or get into long discussions. As with the meetings at home, the seats must be appropriate for the board and the guests together at the conference table and invited to one side.

Annual meetings of Owners Association. These meetings should be carefully choreographed. Always keep them in a formal meeting place large enough to accommodate all the owners. Usually take ownership of gallery style with the board on a table in the head unless your group is small enough to fit around a round table of King Arthur. Ideally, the head of the table should be “half moon” or “U” so that all managers can see each other and the audience. Prevent the board feel like panel unless the meeting is intended to be a question and answer session with the directors of the “line of fire.” Make sure you have adequate sound system, if the room requires it.

Seating meeting is very important when it comes to getting things done efficiently. Set your sites for successful meetings and do not forget to check out their swords at the door.

What do Board Members do anyway?


Some people might wonder what Board Members do. Hopefully, this will shed some light on their duties and responsibilities for your community.

Homeowners Association Board

Board Members have a set number of responsibilities when they volunteer for your community.  Remember, they volunteer! So make sure you thank them for what they do.

Board Members are challenged typically on a daily basis with different aspects from personalities and duties and responsibilities within the community.  They have a definite purpose and specific duties to fulfill for your community.

 

The role of the Board is to set policy, standards, budgets and procedures for the association.

Probably the most important duty is the fiduciary obligations to the association.  This can be characterized into two parts; the duty of loyalty and the duty of care.  The duty of loyalty is requires the Board Member to act in good faith always in the interest of the community.  Never acting in their own interest or in the interest of another person. The duty of care requires the Board Member to act in a reasonable, informed manner when participating on the Board and making decisions for the day to day community’s care.

Board Members are able to delegate the duties of the association, but not the responsibility of their positions. It is the Board that is ultimately responsible for the association even if the Board hires a management company.  They can direct actions on behalf of the association, but the Board is completely responsible to the community. 

The governing documents as well as state and federal statues outline the Board responsibility within the community.  Areas of responsibility typically include:

  • ·         Care, maintenance and enhancement of common areas including facilities and physical property.
  • ·         Management of community finances and any reserve funds.
  • ·         Community harmony.
  • ·         Any employment the association has and the human resources of the community.
  • ·         Interpretation, creation, enforcement of the rules and regulations of the community.
  • ·         Community insurance needs and making sure guidelines for such are followed in the declaration.

This is in no way a full compilation of everything your board members do, just an overview of some of their duties.

Source: http://www.hoamanagementdirectory.com/blog.html?action=more&id=79

CONDOMINIUM INSURANCE – WHO COVERS WHAT?


Most condominium association‘s “Declaration of the Condominium” (hereinafter referred to as declaration) follow the wording of Chapter 47C of the North Carolina Condominium Act with regard to the definitions of “common elements” and “units”.  The Declaration specifies what insurance is to be provided by the association and what insurance is to be provided by the unit owners.In the statute, 47C-2-102, Unit boundaries it says: “Except as provided by the declaration:

(1)   If walls, floors or ceilings are designated as boundaries of a unit, then all lath, furring, wallboard, plasterboard, plaster, paneling, tiles, wallpaper, paint, finishes flooring and any other materials constituting any part of the finished surfaces thereof are a part of the unit; and all other portions of such walls, floors, or ceilings are a part of the common elements.

(2)   If any chute, flue, duct, wire, conduit, bearing wall, bearing column, or any other fixture lies partially within and partially outside the designated boundaries of a unit, any portion thereof serving only that unit is a limited common element allocated exclusively to that unit, and any portion thereof serving more than one unit or any portion of the common elements in a part of the common elements.

(3)   Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2), all spaces, interior partitions, and other fixtures and improvements within the boundaries of a unit are a part of the unit.

(4)   Any shutters, awnings, window boxes, doorsteps, stoops, decks, porches, balconies, patios, and all exterior doors and windows or other fixtures designed to serve a single unit but located outside the unit’s boundaries are limited common elements allocated exclusively to that unit (1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c.877, s.1.)”

The Declaration of most associations specify that the association shall provide coverage for “common elements” and each unit owner must insure his “unit”.  This would suggest that a unit owner would need to include Coverage A Building under the standard condominium unit owners HO6 to cover the elements of the unit that are actually part of the building (contrasted to “contents” such as clothing, TV‘s, etc.).  The parts of the “unit” which cause concern are building type items such as floor covering, wall covering, built in cabinets and appliances, and interior non-load bearing walls and partitions.

Under 47C-3-113, Insurance (a), “Commencing not later than the time of the first conveyance of a unit to a person other than a declarant, the association shall maintain, to the extent available:

(1)   Property insurance on the common elements insuring against all risks of direct physical loss commonly insured against including fire and extended coverage perils.

47C-3-113 (b) “In the case of a building containing units having horizontal boundaries (multi-story buildings) described in the declaration, the insurance maintained under subdivision (a)(1), to the extent reasonably available, shall include the units, but need not include improvements and betterments installed by unit owners.  This seems to imply that the master policy should include all that comes with the unit at the time of purchase (with standard) allowances.  The unit owner would need to insure the value of any upgrades under the Coverage A Building part of his HO6.

An attorney who has much experience in preparing Declarations has responded to an inquiry as follows: “In response to your memo, please note that, per section 47C-1-104(a) of the Condominium Act “Except as specifically provided in specific section of this chapter, the provisions of this chapter may not be varied by the declaration or the by-laws.”  Section 47C-3-113 (the insurance provision to which your memo refers) states that it may be varied or waived “in the case of a condominium all of whose units are restricted to nonresidential use.”  Accordingly, regardless of what the declaration or by-laws say, unless the insurance is not “reasonably available”, if the condominium contains residential units with horizontal boundaries, the insurance must include the units (but need not include improvements or betterments installed by the unit owners.)

Therefore, we conclude that the Association master policy must cover these described items and the amount of insurance selected should reflect these values.

Another issue is the association policy deductible which can be as much as $10,000.  Perhaps the individual unit owner is uncomfortable with such a large deductible.  A solution would be to purchase an amount of Coverage A Building under the HO6 equal to the cost of his upgrades plus $10,000.  The association policy is primary but it does not cover “upgrades” nor anything under $10,000, so the solution suggested will work.  Also, the HO6 building coverage is not subject to a coinsurance clause.

In order for this solution to work, the association Declaration must follow 47-C-113 (b) of the statute.  The alternative method is to say in the Declaration that the associations will provide coverage on the “common elements” only and each unit owner will have to cover all parts of the unit (including walls, floor coverings, built-ins, etc.)  This method calls for the developer/builder to inform each unit owner as to what the replacement cost of such items is so that the proper amount of Coverage A Building coverage can be obtained by each owner.  Not only is this a cumbersome method, but it appears to be contrary to what is dictated by the statute.

Old Ben Was Right


One of the earliest advocates of preventive maintenance was Ben Franklin. He wisely wrote: “A little neglect may breed mischief…for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost…” Old Ben nailed what happens when relatively small repairs. Little things have major impact on homeowner association assets. For example, a small lack of flashing can lead to major dryrot, structural problems and major expense. Ka-CHING!

Preventive maintenance is critical to managing an HOA’s assets. When executed properly, it extends the useful life of buildings, grounds and equipment. Stretching out useful lives means stretching member contributions and reducing downtime from component failures. Preventive maintenance involves fixing something before it breaks. Here are five objectives for a every preventive maintenance program:

  1. To perform maintenance that keeps the property safe and functioning.
  2. To promote the most effective and efficient use of resources.
  3. To estimate the human resources needed for proper operation and maintenance.
  4. To determine long range funding requirements and project scheduling.
  5. To evaluate the effectiveness of the maintenance effort.

Preventive maintenance programs are common with elevators, HVAC and pool equipment, usually because there is a service contract. Other components, like paving, roofing, decks and paint require monitoring and planning.

Functional obsolescence is also a legitimate concern. Lack of parts, improvements in efficiency, computerization and changes in fire and building code can make equipment obsolete even though it’s working just as designed. This is particularly applicable to elevators, boilers, pumps and HVAC. Buying new equipment is often a great investment in reduced operating costs. For example, by replacing all common area lighting with compact fluorescent bulbs, the light level will be significantly increased, the energy consumption reduced by 70% and the useful life of each bulb extended by 10-15 times thereby saving an enormous amount of labor costs. Within 12-18 months, the cost will be recouped in energy savings and then, it’s money in the bank.

So, what is the best way to address major preventive maintenance? Two words: Reserve Study. A Reserve Study identifies all the significant components that the HOA is responsible to maintain, assesses current condition, cost of repair and replacement and charts a 30 year maintenance plan to keep the components in their best condition.

The Reserve Study can provide for cyclical preventive maintenance so components achieve their optimal lives. For example If cracks, minor repairs and sealcoating are performed at least every five years on asphalt paving, major repairs will not be required for 20-30 years. If this relatively inexpensive preventive maintenance is not done, significant and costly major repairs will be required much sooner. Pay a little to save a lot.

A Reserve Study will also guide the board how to systematically accumulate funds without special assessments. A full funding plan will have all owners contribute a fair share relating to the benefits received. A fair contribution plan means no one will get a better deal than anyone else and the money will be there when needed. The Reserve Study is absolutely the best way to prepare for a future which will certainly come to pass.

Remember Old Ben’s nail analogy. Little things have a way of causing great things to happen. But rather than fail in the little things, plan for them and hit this nail right on the head.

by Richard Thompson