MSP: Defining Responsibility for Property Maintenance

Posted by Omega Property Management | Mar 1, 2021

One of the many challenges of overseeing an HOA is defining responsibility for property maintenance. Arguments can develop over decks, balconies, patios, and even each component of a window. Time is wasted and frustration grows between homeowners and the Association over things like a windowsill or a deck support beam.

Knowing everyone’s maintenance responsibility is important, as the HOA must act within the bounds of its governing documents. Communicating consistently about who in the Association is responsible for what when it comes to maintenance, repairs, and replacement helps everyone feel confident about taking care of these important tasks quickly and efficiently.

Property Maintenance Responsibility

The governing documents will dictate which areas must be maintained by the HOA, as opposed to the individual homeowners However, there may be gray areas that need clarification.

We create a Maintenance Service Policy (MSP) to clarify these unclear areas. This is a helpful tool for the HOA Board and its homeowners as well as for us as the property management company for an Association.

Benefits of an MSP

An MSP can be used to simplify who is responsible for each type of maintenance at an Association. This helps minimize the conflict, animosity, and litigation that can diminish community spirit and unity.

An MSP is also a sturdy reference point for homeowners who are buying into an Association, as they can clearly see covered and non-covered items.

What to Include

When we create our MSPs, we use many resources to make sure nothing is missed. A good place to start is each Association’s reserve study and set of governing documents.

Identifying the type of community is key as that will outline components such as attic spaces and foundations.

There may also be unique features, such as two structures that share a privacy wall. In this case, the homeowners may be responsible for having the wall repaired or share the maintenance cost.

HOA maintenance roles and responsibilities are most clearly established in the common areas. To maintain the common areas, an HOA must regularly inspect them. Additionally, an Association needs to maintain sufficient financial reserves to cover maintenance and repairs. They must also hire and manage vendors to maintain and repair those areas. In addition, the HOA must quickly and efficiently address any complaints about the common areas.

Format and Frequency

When creating your MSP, keep the format simple, straightforward, and easy to read. We often use a table format that clearly charts each maintenance item and notes the party responsible.

Frequent publication also produces the greatest result. We help Associations publish their MSPs yearly as part of their Annual Disclosure Packet. The MSP is also highlighted in newsletters and available on each Association’s website.

Creating and Managing

As an additional means of adding value to your Association, Omega Property Management can develop and revise an MSP on your behalf. Remove the guesswork and confusion by clearly defining responsibility for property maintenance. Discover all the possibilities so your HOA – the Board and homeowners – can feel good about maintenance, repairs, and replacement tasks. Contact us today to learn more.