Reserve Data Analysis, Intl.
 
Articles and Information
 

 

“A Call to Reason”

Maintenance Plans and Oregon Legislation

 

prepared by

 

Edwin G. Edgley, CEO/Founder

Reserve Data Analysis, Intl.

June 8, 2010

 

There has been a considerable amount discussion about the “Oregon legislation” requiring that all common interest developments have a “maintenance plan.”  Having been in the property management industry since 1971, I ask myself, “When did we not have one?”  Certainly some were better than others, but, for the most part, we have managed to maintain our communities.  We hire professional managers, landscape contractors, pool maintenance firms and others, all with the expectation that they will take care of our communities.  In fact, the actual contracts with the landscape and pool maintenance firms are the “maintenance plans” for those components within the community.  The contracts detail the responsibilities and frequencies of the service required and the costs associated with that service.  For buildings with elevators, we have elevator service contracts.

 

Now with the Oregon legislation, many think we need to draw up elaborate specifications and procedures individually for each community to address “maintenance plans.”  A whole new industry has been created!  The new view is that the “maintenance plan” must include the elements of the “building envelope.”  What is commonly referred to as the “building envelope” includes roof maintenance, painting of the exterior, cleaning and maintaining rain gutters, windows and doors, among many other things.  But what about maintenance plans including private streets and common areas?  In addition to street repairs and slurry sealing, how often should we have a street sweeping service employed?  How often should we water the grass, and under what conditions do we weed, fertilize, inspect and replace the sprinkler heads?  How often should we clean the pool filters, replace them, or even clean the pool for that matter?  Where does the new “maintenance plan” begin and end? 

 

The point of all this is, if we had to hire a professional to write down everything that needs to be done in maintaining a community it would be quite expensive and probably unnecessary.  Then there is the end question, “is your landscape firm, or pool contractor going to read and follow the plan when you give it to them?”  How much detail do you want in a “maintenance plan” beyond that of a typical reserve study and the individual contracts with the association’s vendors?  In essence, all of us in this industry are already provided basic maintenance plans.  They are built into an association’s CC&Rs or “Declaration” and simply state under “Duties and Responsibilities,” or other similar section, “The Association shall maintain the community in a good state of repair!”  There it is!  Simple, precise and it covers the basics for everything. 

 

In fact, other than what is mandated by federal and state laws, an association’s governing documents are the only legal authority the Board has in its relationship with the membership as a whole.  So, we all have a basic plan.  The question now is how much further do we want to go, and how much more do we want to spend, to define it? 

 

First, a bit of history so you know where all this came from!

 

In California, construction defect lawsuits became rampant against developers of communities.  I know this because when you are already suing the developer for a construction defect, you might as well claim that they underfunded the association with their initial reserve budgets.  It certainly is a sure bet, and I soon found myself getting numerous phone calls and contracts asking me to serve as an “Expert Witness” for an association’s claim against their developer for construction defects and underfunded reserves.  I can honestly say, with attorneys involved, things in the industry got out of hand. 

 

What was the developer’s defense?  When they build a community and create the initial governing documents, put in a requirement that the association must develop and follow a detailed “maintenance plan.”  In this way, by the time they find out about a potential construction defect, hire an attorney and file a claim, we can be sure to have the defense that they, 1) either didn’t develop a maintenance plan at all, or, 2) had one but didn’t follow it precisely, thereby mitigating their claim.”

 

The California homeowner’s industry reacted harshly to these requirements in the governing documents and to a certain degree, developer’s ceased the practice.  It is no surprise to see something similar pop-up in Oregon again, just in another format.  Association’s already have a simple maintenance plan in their governing documents, and, most every firm that prepares reserve studies has, as part of its basic element, a maintenance plan included within their report.  The only question is, “how much more detail is necessary for your community?”  Each is unique and some will require much more detail than others.  Where does your written “maintenance plan” begin and end, and is it already covered in whole or part by the association’s governing documents, individual contracts with its vendors and reserve study?

 

The State of Oregon has adopted specific statutes related to reserve studies for condominiums, which are set forth in

Section 100.175 of the Oregon Condominium Act.

  

Edwin G. Edgley is the CEO and founder of Reserve Data Analysis, Intl.  Mr. Edgley is a published author, routinely lectures at a national level, and teaches on the subject of reserves and reserve analysis preparation.  He is the author of the RDA RESERVE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE program, and is actively involved as an expert witness in his field.  This document may be freely quoted, copied, reproduced and/or distributed, in whole or part, for non-commercial purposes, provided all credits and copyright information remain intact.

 

Visit us at www.ReserveDataAnalysis.com

© Copyright 2006-2010  ·  Edwin G. Edgley

All Rights Reserved