An association’s maintenance and insurance obligations are typically set forth in its governing documents, and ideally should be contained in the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Although one might expect that a board member, manager, or homeowner would be able to read their communities’ governing documents and find answers to questions concerning their maintenance and insurance obligations, unfortunately, this is more often an exception rather than the rule.
In many instances, simply reading the maintenance and insurance provisions of a declaration will not provide clear answers. More often than not, provisions of the declaration need to be cross-referenced and read in conjunction with other provisions in the governing documents and state statutes before answers may be obtained. This lack of clarity often results in numerous phone calls to the association’s attorney and increased legal costs to the association. So what can communities do to cut down on these types of attorney phone calls and lower their legal fees when it comes to figuring out maintenance and insurance issues?
Some associations are ahead of the game because, rather than consulting the association’s attorney every time a maintenance or insurance question arose, they directed the attorneys to prepare maintenance and insurance charts for their communities.
A maintenance and insurance chart is exactly what it sounds like: a chart/matrix that sets out, in detail, who (owner or association) is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of various components within the community. The chart will cover components located inside and outside units as well as the common areas. For example, a maintenance and insurance chart will identify who is responsible for maintaining and insuring the unit drywalls, cabinets, and various utilities lying both inside and outside the unit. Additionally, maintenance and insurance charts typically contain a notes section identifying exceptions to the obligations as well as providing other pertinent information concerning the maintenance and insurance obligations in the community.
Prior to preparing the maintenance and insurance chart, the association’s attorney will look at several things, including the association’s governing documents and plat/condominium maps. The attorney will also talk to the board and/or manager to determine if any specific problems exist in the community that needs to be specifically addressed in the chart.
Once a maintenance and insurance chart is completed, it may be distributed to owners in the community for their use as well as the board’s and manager’s use. Maintenance and insurance charts will not only be useful in answering the board’s and manager’s questions, but the charts will also answer owners’ maintenance and insurance questions and preempt calls to the board and manager from confused, and oftentimes angry, owners.
For more information about maintenance and insurance charts, please contact an Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999 or at [email protected].