Deferred maintenance This week’s word is Deferred Maintenance.

Deferred maintenance means postponing the maintenance of a community’s common elements. Deferred maintenance can be due to an oversight or to a lack of funds needed to conduct routine maintenance of the common elements. Therefore, the maintenance must be pushed back until money becomes available. Deferring the maintenance can have a negative and long lasting impact on the community. The outcome of deferred maintenance will often be a net cost much higher than if the work was completed when needed.

Deferring maintenance which should be done on a regular basis, on a schedule, such as painting, annual cleaning of rain gutters, annual inspection of roofs, power washing, annual inspections of community signage and annual inspections of recreational areas (such as playground equipment) will decrease the useful life of these common elements. By not maintaining the common element item, your association will need to replace the item sooner, which can set your whole budget off.

Painting is one of the largest elements of routine common area maintenance for many associations. Painting of common area buildings should be done every 5-8 years. A poorly maintained paint finish will cost the association more when the maintenance is eventually completed.

Rain gutters also need to be inspected and cleaned annually to insure proper water run-off. Clogged drainage systems are a common cause of mold. Deferring the maintenance of the rain gutters could lead to unwanted and unexpected costs.

Every association should develop its own schedule for maintenance of the common elements. It is also smart to have a deferred maintenance fund within the operating budget to provide money for your routine maintenance should a lack of funds become an issue.

One item that should never be deferred is the Reserve Study. This study should be completed annually and will help your association to budget properly and to work with its vendors in keeping the association in tip top shape.

by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management