Pitfalls of Common Community Maintenance – It all sounds so good.
The sales agent tells you that if you move into this Association, you will never need a garden tool or a snow shovel again. Well, it may sound good, but it is not that simple. Here are some of the pitfalls of common community maintenance.
1) Service Level. By definition, no one will be perfectly happy with a service level chosen by an Association. Anyone with higher expectations will think it is not good enough and anyone with lower expectations will think money is being wasted. The key is to pick a service level that reasonably resembles the level of the surrounding properties in the area. Don’t over-maintain, but don’t under-maintain either.
2) No Personal Touch. People are all different and like to express it. However, uniform maintenance takes away that expression. The solution is to provide a small restricted area at each home where homeowners can express themselves.
3) No Offsets. An owner will often demand a higher level of service than is being provided and then offset his own expenses to raise the service level against the monthly assessment. Of course, this activity is not permitted. However, the lawsuits that often ensue are costly.
4) Unclear Responsibility Lines. No matter how meticulously crafted, Governing Documents can never clearly address all maintenance responsibilities. The result is confusion and hard feelings when an owner finds out that a maintenance item that the owner thought was covered through the maintenance fee is indeed not.
In summary, happiness in a Community Association requires the Homeowner to adopt a “we” attitude rather than a “me” attitude. Expect to make compromises and you will never be disappointed.