No Matter What, We’re All in this Together!
This Monthly Matters article is dedicated to helping solidify, for all unit owners, just what their responsibilities are when it comes to Arbor Grove. Whether you own or rent, we all live in what is legally described as a “common interest community.”
When Debbie and I opted to buy a unit and move here to Arbor Grove, we entered into a covenant with the association that we will always comply with both the “By-laws,” “Covenants, Conditions, Easements and Restrictions,” as well as the “Guidelines” established by the association. I was personally reluctant at first to move here as I wasn’t certain I wanted to be subject to all the rules that came with living in a common interest community.
To understand the rules, we must first understand that the association owns the exterior of each building and surrounding grounds. We, as owners, only own that which exists inside the building (commonly described as being from the drywall in), including all “upgrades” like flooring, cabinets, appliances, furnishings, etc. An exception to the above would be a patio or your air conditioning unit. The patio of a unit is considered an “upgrade” which exists outside the building, and your air conditioner condenser unit are personal property and, therefore, are the responsibility of the resident. You may be surprised, but doors, windows, screens, and your garage doors are your personal property and responsibility.
Anyone wanting to read the actual duties of the unit owners can find them in Article IV of the Association’s Covenants, Conditions, Easements, and Restrictions—specifically, Section 4.8. There, you’ll find language regarding duties you are required to perform and steps to be taken if such duties are not performed. For simplicity’s sake, it really comes down to the following:
- Keep the exterior of your unit clean, and clear of debris and trash to include “limited common areas” (such as a patio). It also includes washing windows and screens.
- Clean up after pets in all areas of the community, both common and limited.
- Keep your unit in a good state of repair, like your doors and windows (including screens).
- Maintain sufficient insurance coverage (refer to section 15.2 of Covenants). As everyone knows, the sole requirement is to have at least $500K in liability insurance. As we are learning from our recent fire, there is additional coverage that will greatly benefit the residents. For instance, make sure you have enough coverage for “Loss of Use,” which will cover charges for you to rent something while your property is being repaired or replaced. It is always a good idea to have an insurance review with your agent every once in a while!
Aside from the physical responsibilities, there are those responsibilities which fall under the heading of “common sense and courtesy.” Some examples of these are:
- Pick up trash around the property if you are out walking.
- Check in on neighbors during harsh weather like storms and freezing temperatures. It’s also common decency to know your neighbors and look out for them, especially if they are elderly (which most of us either qualify for now or are getting there soon!)
- Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists when driving. While the speed limit is 25 mph, it doesn't hurt to slow down and pay close attention, as many of our neighbors like to get out and walk or ride their bikes when the weather cooperates.
Finally, there is the issue of responsibility. It is important that everyone realizes that not only are we, as owners, responsible for our actions, we are also responsible for the actions of any individuals we invite over to act and behave in a safe and courteous manner. Some examples of this would include:
- Driving at a reasonable speed. Although already mentioned, there are folks who do not live here who must believe they are on a racetrack here and exceed a safe limit.
- Loud noises, another commonsense item. If you have something to do in your garage that will make a lot of noise, be mindful of the time. During daylight hours, there is a lesser chance that it will be disturbing as opposed to doing it later in the evening.
- Last but certainly not least, is the swimming pool. This is where courtesy and common sense are most important.
- If you are going to the pool, be aware that even if you are there with your daughter/son and their kids, you are still ultimately responsible for ensuring they all act appropriately. If one of your grandchildren decides to do a cannonball anywhere near other residents relaxing in the pool…it is not going to go over well.
- Please adhere to the policy that no glass is allowed in or around the pool. If something gets broken, the pool must be shut down and all the filters must be removed and replaced. This obviously will result in an inconvenience to all your neighbors and result in significant costs to Arbor Grove.
- If you have rented the clubhouse for the day, remember, that the pool does not come with the rental. Don’t forget: You are required to clean the clubhouse after your rental. It’s always a good idea to look at the clubhouse checklist accompanying the rental agreement.
- When not rented, the clubhouse is available for your use (it was originally described as an extension of your living room). Remember, we do not employ either maintenance or cleaning staff. It is your responsibility to clean up after yourselves to include - wash all dishes used, returning them to their original locations, wipe down counters and tables, sweep, vacuum, or mop flooring, if necessary, etc. It is a common courtesy to leave it clean for the next neighbor who comes along.
The Arbor Grove Board exists to manage the property and expenditures required for general maintenance and upkeep. Every member of the Board works for you and the betterment of this community, all without compensation. Just like our Standing Committees, their members, and co-chairs, many hours of volunteerism go on behind the scenes to keep our community a wonderful place to live.
As I originally stated, Arbor Grove is legally referred to as a “common interest group.” That should mean that we all have essentially the same concept of how we should act (or re-act) toward each other. If we all use common sense and are courteous toward each other, this should be as close to utopia as we are likely to get.
Again - No Matter What, We’re All in this Together!