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The Re-roofing Process

A checklist for HOAs

By Donna Vingo

Having an excellent roofing system can help protect a property owner’s greatest asset. Throughout the year, the change of seasons brings different challenges to the roof of a structure. From the sweltering summer heat to the deep freeze of winter, from strong winds or powerful rains to the wildfire dangers throughout California, having a roofing system that can withstand any of these challenges, let alone all of them, is an important protection against losing everything. This article is focused on providing the HOA board, the HOA roofing committee, and HOA homeowners with information on the re-roofing process.

The HOA board is responsible for two major tasks: making decisions and spending money. HOAs are nonprofit corporations that have as their principal asset the land and buildings in the HOA common areas, which can be valued from hundreds of thousands up to tens of millions of dollars. The HOA board is usually composed of volunteers...

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What to Provide Your Preparer for Best Reserve Study Results

By Clifford Bates

Is a reserve study a science or an art form? I say it is both. The Cambridge English Corpus states, "Science shows the unity, while art shows the diversity of the riddle which we call the world." So now we have introduced a "riddle," which is defined as, "A baffling, misleading, or puzzling question presented as a problem to be solved or guessed." It appears that I am not making the concept of reserve studies any clearer to the reader, but stay with me and I will explain.

You do not have to look very far into the history of homeowner association management to see the birth of reserve studies. There was a time, not very long ago, when neither the governing documents nor the regulating agencies had any requirements that were to be adhered to regarding long-term maintenance, repair, or replacement. As the concept of identifying future, long-term costs for repairing and replacing common area components for aging facilities became more customary and accepted...

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Creative Financing for HOAs

So, you have deferred maintenance, sharply rising costs, and the coffers are bare…

By Caroline McCormick, CAMEx, CCAM

Civil Code requires that HOAs disclose deferred maintenance, but many do not. Boards try to "save money" by waiting to perform maintenance or make needed repairs. This mentality, coupled with inflation, post-COVID19 labor and material price increases, and the notion that maintaining assessments artificially low is a benefit to the community, has created funding challenges for many associations.


Robert W. Browning, PCAM, RS, and owner of Browning Reserve Group, believes that reserve studies are essential to the strategic planning of any community. "Having a professional study that’s reviewed annually just makes good business sense," says Browning. Start nine months before the fiscal year end by examining in detail the reserve study component list and funding scenario to make sure it is reasonable for your community. Make sure any...

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Ensuring Adequately Funded Reserves

…and Preparing for the Unknown

By Kumar S. Raja & Shelby D. Bennett

Throughout the state, many older common interest developments (CIDs) are struggling with costly repairs and large maintenance projects as buildings age. Is your CID prepared to replace major components without a special assessment? Do you have funds available to finance a roof replacement project? This article will review the importance of adequately funding reserves and identify future considerations that might impact current planning.


California law requires that CIDs conduct reserve studies every three years – and yet it does not set forth minimum funding requirements for reserve accounts. This means that a CID can conduct a reserve study and still not be prepared for replacing major components, such as common area roofs and structural components. The law provides some direction regarding reserve account maintenance. In short, boards must...

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Proactive Financial Management

President’s Message

By Laura Ravazza

This article first appeared in the Summer 2023 edition of The Communicator here.  

I hope this message finds you all in good health and high spirits. I want to take a moment to address an important aspect of our organization’s well-being – financial management within our homeowners associations (HOAs).

Managing the finances of an HOA requires careful planning and collaboration with our business partners. It is crucial that we work together effectively to ensure the financial stability and success of our communities. To achieve this, I encourage each of you to be proactive in your approach to financial management.

First and foremost, I urge you to not hesitate in asking questions. Whether you are a board member, a committee volunteer, or a concerned member, never be afraid to seek clarification or further information. Financial matters can be complex; and it is our duty to understand and actively participate in the...

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Trees and Concrete

By Adrianne Bauer

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

There is no
 product more commonly used than concrete.

We can’t exist without trees providing this little thing called oxygen.

Therefore, trees and concrete exist in the same environment – sort of like cats and dogs. Trees continuously grow both up and out as they become older, changing their footprint. Concrete is a finite object that is most often damaged by trees. So, how do we make it all work?


During development, landscape architects and developers put together their brilliant plan to create a beautiful community, knowing that eventually there will be issues. Most developers/landscape architects install fast-growing trees in order for the property to sell quickly. Unfortunately for us, these fast-growing trees with fast-growing root systems create future issues that we find in almost all communities.

Once these...

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Elevator 101 – Knowledge is Control

(First in a series) By Barry Robbins

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

Elevators remain a mystery to property owners and managers even after years of operation. Elevators are elaborate systems that require specialized knowledge and expertise to understand and maintain properly. Their mechanics involve electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems requiring regular inspection, maintenance, and repair.

These complex machines rely on various components to function properly. Each component has a specific role to play in the operation of the elevator; a failure in any one component can result in serious safety concerns. Understanding the different types of elevator components can help building owners and property managers to better manage and maintain their elevators and ensure the safety and well-being of building occupants. In the articles to come, we will provide an "Elevator 101" primary education of these various components...

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Are You Ready for the EV Revolution?

How to prepare for electric vehicle charger installations in common areas.

By Karen St. Onge, Esq

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

It has been more than a decade since the Davis-Stirling Act was amended to provide for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations (EV chargers) and time of use meters in common interest developments (CIDs). Despite this legislation, installation of EV chargers in common areas has remained a rare occurrence, and the courts have not issued any appellate decisions interpreting sections 4745 and 4745.1 of the Davis-Stirling Act.

Recently, millions of dollars in rebates have become available for installation of shared EV chargers. These rebates are from the state and federal government in partnership with nonprofit organizations to further promote EV charger installations. So, how can associations take advantage of this free money and be prepared to respond to owners’ requests to install EV...

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Looking Beyond the Aesthetics

…and Putting Preventive Maintenance in Your Plan

By Wendy Benner Miller, CAM

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

Why is it that there is often a substantially greater demand, more community involvement, and increased interest in the timeline for new pool equipment or annual plantings in a common area space than a community-wide roof, balcony, or dry-rot inspection?

While that may seem like a silly question, it is often the one that gets the most attention when a problem arises and preventive maintenance is Beyond the Aesthetics Looking long past possible. You see, living in a common interest development often allows for residents to focus on the amenities that drew them to a homeowners’ association in the first place, be it the pool area, a clubhouse, a park or tot-lot, and, seemingly most often, the landscaping that is magically groomed by an outside source. The focus on these items, while important, often takes...

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Partnering for Success: 7 Tips for Working with a General Contractor

Guest Blog by Char Tedrick

This article fist appeared in The Communicator, Spring 2023 Edition. 

Let’s face it – life is stressful. We can try every calming strategy in the book, practice meditation, breathwork, and yoga – but when you are responsible for the peace of mind and contentment of a large community of residents, we’re talking next level. You need to be prepared and ready to handle whatever the day brings.

When circumstances call for the services of a general contractor, chances are your needs are urgent and time is of the essence. When your community is depending on you for quick and reliable service and support, having those strong partnerships and vendor relationships in place is critical. You may have your nominated vendors and trusted partners, but you never know what the future may hold. It is always better to have options and the ability to make a calculated and thoughtful decision on work based off the bids of a few qualified...

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