C.G. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo grounds are a mess. The landscaper only comes every other week and is here for less than an hour. 3 guys cut the grass, blow the clippings off the parking lot and then leave. Meanwhile, we have brown patches throughout the complex, weeds, crabgrass, and dandelions throughout the property. I have complained to the Property Manager but he says there isn’t anything he can do. Do you have any ideas?
Mister Condo replies:
C.G., bad looking common areas are bad news for any condominium association. Curb appeal is very important in keeping property values maximized and keeping the community vibrant with civic pride. Unit owners and other residents are very much as upset as you are. It is the charge of the Board to keep the common assets of the association in tip top shape. That includes your grounds. However, it’s not like the members of the Board of Directors are required to get out there and keep the grass green or remove the weeds. What they need to do is reevaluate the plan for keeping the community looking good.
If your association has a Grounds Committee, you should start there. If your association doesn’t have one, why not volunteer your efforts to get one started. The Grounds Committee is generally charged with repair and upkeep of common grounds, community gardens, even trees and shrubs. Ideal committee members are folks with some gardening history and interest in how the grounds look. They can make recommendations to the Board on what to plant, what type of grass to grow, and more. They may even be involved in helping prepare the Request For Purchase (RFP) that the Board should issue each year to hire a grounds keeping company. It is very likely that your current contract calls for nothing more than “mow and blow” which is what your current landscaper is doing. They cut the grass and blow away the clippings. In their defense, if that is all their contract calls for, that is all they can do.
Your new RFP should include weed removal, planting fresh seed in dead grass areas, suggestions for upgrading plants, mulch, watering systems, and whatever else it is going to take to get your community back on track to looking beautiful. The benefits are plentiful but it all begins with the plan. Get involved and start enjoying a better looking community tomorrow! All the best!