Your City vs Your HOA, Who's Responsible for What?

Your City vs Your HOA, Who's Responsible for What?

You live in an association and pay the dues, so you assume the association will handle anything and everything, right? That’s not necessarily the case. The HOA does have its responsibilities, but they aren’t responsible for maintaining everything. You may have to contact your city for some items in your community and we’ll help you distinguish when you should.

What HOA Fees Cover

Each HOA is different and maintains only certain aspects of the community. If you want to know exactly what your HOA covers, you’ll need to read the governing documents provided to you in your escrow document packet when you purchased your home. In general, though, expect some or all of the following.

Maintenance & Repairs

-         Exterior maintenance and repairs on your home

-         Maintenance and repairs of HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems

-         Maintenance and repairs of any elevators

-         Landscaping care

-         Maintenance and repair of all private roads and parking lots

-         Maintenance and repair of roofing systems

-         Maintenance and repairs of all shared areas, such as pools or fitness centers

If any of these areas fall short of your governing documents, you can take it up with the HOA board. For example, if the private roads have potholes that pose a danger to anyone driving through, you can report it to the HOA and request the repairs. Other issues, however, fall outside of the HOA’s jurisdiction and may require the city’s involvement.

Your City’s Maintenance Requirements

When certain other repairs don’t fall under the HOA’s responsibility, who do you call? Find out below.

-         Street maintenance – Proper street maintenance prevents injuries and unnecessary car damage. It also helps maintain a property’s value. Your HOA may be responsible for private roads, but public roads may fall under the city’s obligation. Once again, it depends on how the HOA bylaws are written. You can start by calling your association but know that you may be calling the city next if the HOA reports they are public roads.

-         Streetlights – Like streets, streetlights have similar restrictions. Is there a streetlight out or down? You’ll need to know if they are privately owned. If so, it falls under the HOA’s responsibility. If not, the city may be responsible.

-         Parking enforcement – Parking is often an issue in HOAs. The responsibility only falls on the HOA when private roads are involved. Any parking issues on public roads must be addressed with the local authorities, including but not limited to: abandoned vehicles and improper vehicle storage. The HOA only has the right to tow improperly parked cars on private property. They may only do so after taking the proper steps outlined in your governing documents

-         Code enforcement issues – Having an issue with your neighbor? If a unit owner violates code enforcement, the HOA has a few options. If the issue violates HOA rules, the HOA can enforce the penalty. If not, though, you may have to call the city code enforcement department to file the complaint.

Your HOA’s governing documents are a valuable resource when you are looking for answers in your community. It is always recommended to review your documents when you have questions. And as always, your HOA management company is there to assist you.

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