An association’s maintenance and insurance obligations are typically set forth in the association’s declarations of covenants. However, in many instances, simply reading the maintenance and insurance provisions of the declaration will not give boards and managers clear answers. Often times, many provisions of the declaration need to be cross referenced and read in conjunction, and statutes consulted, before an answer can be obtained. This results in numerous phone calls to the association’s attorneys and increased legal costs to the association. Rather than consulting legal counsel every time a maintenance or insurance question arises, many associations direct their attorneys to prepare a maintenance and insurance chart. This article will explain what a maintenance and insurance chart is and how it can benefit associations.
A maintenance and insurance chart is exactly what it sounds like: a chart that sets out in detail who (owner or association) is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of various components within the community. For example, the chart will set forth who is responsible for maintaining and insuring the drywalls, cabinets and light fixtures within a condominium unit. Additionally, the chart will advise whether the owner or association is responsible for maintaining and/or insuring the doors and windows of condominiums and townhomes.
Prior to preparing the maintenance and insurance chart, the association’s legal counsel will look at several things, including the association’s governing documents and plat maps. The attorney will also talk to the board and manager and determine if any specific problem areas exist in the community that require special attention. Finally, the attorney should visit the community and become familiar with the community’s layout, recreational facilities and any special or out of the ordinary features.
Once the board obtains the completed chart, it may distribute the chart to owners within the community. Therefore, the 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.
To summarize, maintenance and insurance charts are a useful means to assist associations with answering questions concerning who is responsible for maintaining and insuring various components within the community. The charts also benefit associations by providing answers to legal questions which, in turn, reduces phone calls to the association’s attorneys and thereby reduces legal costs.