“All things the same, except for the differences, and different, except for the similarities.” Thomas Sowell.
In making the excellent choice to make Arbor Grove your home, you entered the world of becoming a part of a homeowner’s association. A first time for many. There’s no way to quickly digest all the bylaws, covenants, conveyances, etc. Hopefully, by taking bits and pieces occasionally and highlighting them in this monthly feature, everyone will learn, understand and be more comfortable knowing Arbor Grove is organized and operationally together.
For a general definition, let’s look at the firm Sharper Management, which lays it out nicely. “A Common Element is typically a space or component that is “shared” by all.” In our case, think of the Clubhouse, Pool, parking lot in front of the clubhouse, Pond, internal sidewalks, and greenspace, including grass, trees, and landscaping.
The association is responsible for maintaining these areas and components, hence, collecting our monthly fees and understanding the need to set aside reserve funds for future repairs, replacements, etc. The exteriors of our buildings are all considered common elements. This is why committees and the board must approve changes or repairs to an individual unit. It is also why several units have been repainted, and more to be done this summer and next. As the old saying goes – There’s a reason for everything!
Now, for Limited Common Elements. This is where the individual homeowner comes in. They are components of your unit and immediate surroundings where use is “exclusive” to you and your guests. When you think about it, who should be allowed to walk through your front door or enter your garage without your express permission. The same goes if you have a patio or terrace with your unit. You do not have to share any of these items with anyone. I should never be able to hang out on your patio because the sunshine is better there unless I am explicitly invited.
Now here is the part that needs to be clarified. Again, going back to Sharper Management: Limited Common Elements, The responsibility for maintenance and replacement could be entirely the homeowners. Again, all those documents you received when you purchased your unit have the details.
In essence, though – Homeowners are responsible for exterior doors, including your garage door, windows, screens, patio repair, and replacement. Now, not that this will ever happen, but what if a homeowner doesn’t take care of their limited common element? Well, the board, for the betterment of all, may have to consider making the necessary repair made for the benefit of the individual homeowner and the overall integrity of the Association as a whole and assess the individual unit owner for the cost of the repairs. This is one more example of how as members of the Arbor Grove Homeowners Association, we can be sure the overall maintenance and aesthetic excellence can be maintained well into the future.
“While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many.” Lady Bird Johnson