C.C. from Washington, D.C. writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Is it the board responsibility to maintain property values?
Mister Condo replies:
C.C., great question! My answer is “yes and no”. The reason is that property values are determined by more factors than the Board can control. If unemployment spikes in your region and demand for housing drops, the Board can’t be expected to create a better economy so home prices rise, can they? The “yes” part of my answer is typically outlined in your governance documents. The Board has duty to maintain, protect, and enhance the association. That means making sure there is enough money to keep the common grounds and building exteriors in great working order and appearance, which in turn, keep property values maximized for market conditions. While many condominiums and HOAs do a great job with their maintenance and curb appeal, there are some associations that choose to keep their fees artificially low by not saving for future capital expenditures. Then, when the time comes for a new roof or repair to the parking lot they have to decide to levy a Special Assessment or take out a loan to pay for the repairs. More often than not, Boards simply decide to “delay” the maintenance, leaving the problem for the next Board or hoping that some magical money will appear to handle the expense. You can always spot these association when entering the grounds and spotting the poor curb appeal and neglected amenities. While the Boards of these associations are typically the scapegoats for such poor maintenance, the problem is usually a refusal to raise common fees by the members of the association, who share equally in the blame. The bottom line is that association members need to elect and support association leaders that will take on the difficult job of keeping the association in great shape. When that happens, property values are maximized and the community looks great! All the best!