As community managers we are responsible for “other people’s property”. The manager and maintenance personnel must work closely to create and execute a maintenance plan with the goal of prolonging the useful life of the association’s common elements. I would highly recommend using an annual planning calendar. An annual planning calendar is a useful tool for the manager’s reference and board accountability. The calendar should list all contracted vendor schedules, in-house maintenance duties that must be performed daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually or annually. Listing the maintenance goals by month allows for a well prepared and documented plan to follow (e-mail me if you’d like a sample of this format at email@example.com).
Another important factor to consider when creating a maintenance plan is how to advise the board when planning for repairs and replacements of the common and limited-common elements. Unfortunately, we are all aware that most communities do not fully fund reserves. Often, preventative repairs and replacements are not supported by board or members as the benefit will not be realized immediately; however, the monetary contribution to the reserves will immediately impact the current owners. It will be necessary to remind the board that the reserves they enjoy were planned and paid for by owners who invested in the community ten, twenty or even thirty years ago! Enlist the help of a reserve specialist to offer an objective report on the current state of the association’s components and estimated useful life of the community assets. Reserve Advisors (www.reserveadvisors.com) offers a comprehensive analysis for common interest communities. There is a fee, of course, but the analysis is an invaluable tool for immediate, mid-term and long-term planning.
Ultimately, we can only advise the board. Our role is to maintain their common elements, provide for the health, safety and welfare of the owners and guests, sustain their property values, and manage the costs of major repairs and replacements by adhering to a routine and preventative maintenance plan.
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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