Most condominiums in Arizona are subject to oversight by homeowner’s associations (HOAs). With an HOA, the individual homeowners all pay fees to the HOA and the HOA board members, who are elected by the individual homeowners, will have the ability to enforce rules contained in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). One of the more contentious property-related issues that can arise in the work of an HOA and the lives of the homeowners in the condominium is figuring out who is responsible for paying for the maintenance, upkeep, and repairs on the condominium property, which can be quite costly at times.

The HOA is Required to Pay for Common Element Upkeep

Under Arizona Revised Statute 33-1247, the HOA itself is responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement of the common areas of the condominium complex and each unit owner is responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement of aspects within the unit itself.

 

Thus, the HOA would be required to cover the costs - typically through hiring a management company or outside service providers - for matters such as:

  • Vacuuming and cleaning the hallways and lobbies
  • Pool maintenance and repairs
  • Any issues related to the gym and fitness facilities
  • Exterior walls, courtyards, and roofs in some some cases
  • Building wide security and fire safety upkeep

 

What is and is not a “common element” of a condominium complex such that the HOA is required to pay repairs could be a debatable issue depending on the layout of the complex and the information provided in the bylaws and CC&Rs. For example, one condo building could have an underground shared garage that might be considered a common element, while another complex could have garages attached to each unit that would not be considered common elements.

HOA Costs for Upkeep Will Be Assessed to Only the Units Benefitted

Of course, saying that the HOA is responsible for the costs of common element upkeep means that the homeowners themselves are indirectly responsible as they are ones that pay the HOA fees which are used to fund the upkeep. But what about common elements that only benefit a unit, such as a private patio or balcony outside the unit but only enjoyed by the unit owner?

 

Under Arizona Revised Statute 33-1255(c), the cost of upkeep for common elements available to less than all units will only be assessed against those units, and the cost will be charged back to that unit if the CC&Rs are silent on who pays to maintain those areas.

When a Condo Owner Causes Damage to Common Areas

The basic rule that the HOA is responsible for the cost of repairs to common areas and elements does not apply, however, when a unit owner himself causes the damage to the area. For example, if a condo owner or a person there under his supervision breaks a grill in a common courtyard or vandalizes a hallway, the condo owner will be responsible for the costs.

Providing Access to Condos for Repairs

Also note that the Arizona HOA laws require that individual condo unit owners should allow the HOA, typically through its management company, to have access to the units to conduct upkeep and repairs. One common example of this is allowing the HOA to enter the unit to maintain building-wide fire alarm systems.

Contact an HOA Lawyer for Further Help