We are often told that, at a minimum, an annual physical is needed to ensure that we are in optimum health. The same school of thought holds true for a community association. Let things go untended for too long and you wind up with a community that is seriously out of whack.
What should your board do at least once a year to ensure your community stays on track?
The following should be reviewed at least annually:
- Review the annual corporate report to be sure that the information on current board members and your association's registered agent is correct and that you have paid your annual corporate fee.
- If your community is classified as "Housing for Older Persons" be sure to to confirm that recent sales and leases in the last 12 months still put you at a minimum of 80% occupancy by someone age 55 or older.
- Review all vendor contracts and discuss work quality, expiration dates, and any automatic renewal clauses that need to be considered if a termination of those contracts is desired.
- Review all residential leases in the community to determine their renewal dates and put any owners with nuisance tenants on notice that their leases will not be approved for renewal.
- Review any safety and security issues that may have cropped up throughout the year which would require your board to take steps to improve security measures in order to protect your residents/guests and to insulate the community from liability.
- Review your community's disaster preparation and recovery plan and confirm that everyone on the board understands his or her individual role in carrying out that plan and make any necessary updates to the plan.
- If your board governs a condominium association, the statutorily-required Frequently Asked Question and Answer sheet needs to be reviewed at least annually to ensure its continued accuracy.
- If your community prepares and distributes a Social Directory containing contact information for your members, you will need to review that information to remove the listing for any members who have elected to opt out of being included in that directory.
- If your community issues vehicle ID stickers, guard gate remote control devices or pass-codes, key fobs and other access/entry devices, you will need to disable devices for occupants who no longer reside in the community to ensure your continued safety.
- If you maintain emergency contact information for your residents (particularly elderly or infirm residents) you should look to update that information at least annually and well before you may need it.
- If you have approved pets, service or emotional support animals, you should review those cases annually to confirm that the original pets/animals which were approved are still the ones in residence.
- An annual rules audit is always a good idea to ensure that rules are being routinely and uniformly enforced in order to avoid enforcement challenges in the future.
- Any payment plans for delinquent owners should be monitored at least annually to ensure that those owners are still in compliance.
- Any settlement agreements entered into by the association should be similarly monitored to ensure compliance continues.
- All common and limited common areas as well as association-owned property should be inspected at least annually to determine that preventative maintenance is being performed and to determine estimated remaining useful life of various community components.
The idiom, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin and it certainly sounds like something he would say. Boards would be well advised to heed this advice and take the community's pulse on an annual basis at the very minimum.