Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Ask the HOA Expert: Mold Conditions

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 07 March 2017 21:34

Question: Our HOA has a resident owner that claims there is a mold condition which the HOA is responsible to remediate. The board wants to be proactive but is hesitant to incur costs just because an owner demands it. Whose responsibility is it to pay for testing?

Answer: It is possible that the mold problem could be the HOA's responsibility to repair. It is also possible that the unit owner is creating the condition. But until qualified testing is done, the answer to that question will not be known. Get the owner to agree to pay for the testing if it proves to be something that the HOA is not responsible to repair. If it turns out to be the unit owner's problem, seek reimbursement and if he doesn't pay, process the account for collection just like you would for any other sums owed.

Question: Our bylaws state that "Each unit owner shall maintain the unit deck in a clean and sanitary condition". Does this mean they should simply sweep their decks periodically or engage in pressure washing and other aggressive cleaning?

Answer: In defining what level of maintenance the unit owners should be required to do, the board must consider how likely it is that unit owners will do (or know how to do) what is being asked of them. The chance of many owners doing pressure washing is close to zero. Hiring a contractor to do all this work on all decks at the same time will result in a cost reduction, less mess and disruption. Have the owners perform regular sweeping and the HOA do more aggressive cleaning every couple of years.

Question: What is an appropriate use of HOA funds by the developer prior to turnover to an elected board of owners? Our developer spent nearly $20,000 on "lawn mowing maintenance" for his unsold lots.

Answer: Developers control the HOA board prior to turnover so wear two hats. If spending HOA money, the developer should follow the adopted HOA budget which often includes Landscape Maintenance. Unless the budget calls for mowing of all lots, this sounds like an inappropriate expenditure which should be reimbursed to the HOA's bank account.

At turnover, it is a good idea to have an independent audit of the HOA accounts by a CPA to ensure that all expenses and receipts have been properly accounted for and that all members, including the developer, has paid all fees owed to the HOA.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see www.Regenesis.net.

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Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson owns Regenesis, a management consulting company that specializes in condominium and homeowner associations. He is a nationally recognized expert on HOA management issues.

Regenesis publishes The Regenesis Report, a monthly newsletter for HOA boards, developers and managers. To subscribe, go to Regenesis.net. He can be contacted by email at rich@regenesis.net.

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