One of the frequently cited reasons why residents choose condo or community living is the idea that they have very little responsibility when it comes to maintenance, upkeep, and repairs for the structure of the buildings, outdoor areas and amenity areas. In fact, it frees up quite a bit of time and energy for homeowners who live busy work lives and want to spend their free time tending to family, friends, or hobbies they enjoy.
Capital repairs or improvements, therefore, are an important part of the management of a condo or rental community. It is critical that the board in charge has a plan for what major upkeep items are scheduled each year and, in particular, what season is best to complete those repairs. Some projects are of greater consequence than others, so creating a calendar and list that is prioritized should be a part of the HOA or property management team’s responsibility.
What’s The Goal Of Capital Repairs?
According to the Homeowners Protection Bureau, LLC, “A capital improvement is a planned discretionary permanent replacement, renovation, or alteration to the property that serves to increase the value, makes it more useful, or prolong its life.”
As a member of an HOA or a community you will probably pay annual assessments, special assessments, and capital improvement assessments subject to being a part of that HOA. If you rent an apartment or home, your landlord will probably build the fees into the monthly rent or as a part of your deposit or downpayment.
What Are Included In Capital Repairs?
Capital repairs otherwise known as capital improvements are not HOA maintenance fees. Those fees are generally maintenance fees for the regular upkeep of the property such as landscaping, gardening, cleaning the pool, maintaining the fitness room, maintaining the safety of the driveways during the winter months, and caring for common areas.
Capital repairs or improvements are completely different. For example, cleaning and maintaining the pool area would fall under regular maintenance that you pay your HOA fee for. Capital repairs could include replacing the changing rooms, switching out new tables and patio equipment, or replacing the stone pavers. These things are larger ticket items that would need to be saved for and would only occur once every few years rather than annually.
Another example of the difference between regular maintenance and the capital improvements would be plowing the walkways and parking lots in the winter vs repaving the lots or repairing frost heaves or cracks. Again, these repairs are more costly and don’t happen as regularly as the maintenance items do.
Talk to your landlord or HOA about what the schedule is for your community in regard to capital repairs or improvements and find out how your voice can be heard on recommendations of future repairs.
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