We are seeing many associations deferring common area maintenance and repair because they are afraid to increase their regular assessments or levy special assessments because they are concerned that the owners cannot pay any more money. In many cases, associations are experiencing 20% to 30% (or more) delinquencies. This is but one additional consequence from the Great Recession. What boards and their association management need to understand is that their buildings were not designed to last forever, and their useful lives are reduced when maintenance and repair is deferred. More importantly, deferred maintenance usually results in a higher cost of repair later.
We were therefore not surprised by an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel that reported on a 50-year-old condominium building that was yellow tagged by the city after the owners noticed the roof was sagging. Eight residents were required to temporarily relocate while repairs (including shoring) were made to the sagging roof.
While we understand that many associations are having hard times and difficulty collecting assessments, deferring maintenance is not a good idea, as it will not only increase the cost of repair later when the problem is more serious and there is damage to the structure of the buildings and the interior of units, but it will also lead to lawsuits from owners who have suffered damage to their units or a diminution in the value of their property.