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How To Determine Maintenance Responsibilities in HOAs

The Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and the owners each have different obligations with regard to maintaining, repairing, and replacing different parts of the community.  If either the HOA or an individual owner does not properly meet those obligations, it can cause problems for the owner, and often for other members of the HOA as well. It is important to understand who is responsible for which elements of the community, and what rights you have if the HOA is not taking care of its responsibilities.

In most developments, depending on the CC&Rs, maintenance responsibilities are generally allocated as follows:

Owner Entirely Responsible. In planned developments where the homes are single family residences, owners are responsible for maintaining all aspects of their house and lot unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise.

Shared Responsibilities. In some documents, maintenance of the roofs and painting of the exteriors is assigned to the homeowners association. All other aspects of repairs and maintenance are assigned to the owner. This is especially true when the homes are constructed in “pods” or “clusters” with shared walls.

Enforcement:  The owner is responsible for maintenance as well. When owners fail to maintain their property, the Association can enforce maintenance standards as provided for in the governing documents. This may start with a phone call by Management or your typical violation letter.



Duty to Inspect Common Areas. Associations must visually inspect the common areas every three years and prepare a reserve study listing all major components, the remaining useful life of those components and the cost to repair or replace them.

Duty to Investigate Complaints. Whenever the HOA board is informed of common area problems, such as cracked sidewalks, roof leaks, plumbing backups, etc., it must investigate these issues. Board members do not need to personally inspect them, they can rely on managing agents, plumbers, etc. to investigate and report back to the Board. If an owner reports a water damage or flood inside his/her unit, the Board must determine if the leak is originating from (i) the owner’s own plumbing, which is the owner’s responsibility to repair, or (ii) the common area, which is the Association’s responsibility to repair.

Duty to Repair. Regardless of fault, damaged common areas must be repaired and replaced.

Associations are formed to provide maintenance to benefit the look and appearance of the community and improve property values. Different types of associations have different types of maintenance responsibilities, but all associations and their boards should carefully review the maintenance obligations outlined in the governing documents. In doing so, the association, along with the owners, can ensure that they are performing the maintenance duties required leading to fewer questions as to who is responsible for what.

Our team at Atlantic & Pacific offers a full spectrum of Home Owners Association Management and Customer Support that insure your Association fulfills its most important function to represent community members and communicate to them efficiently and effectively. Contact us today to receive a custom proposal!

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