Tag Archives: life

HOA Reserve Funds: The Pros and Cons of Underfunding Reserves

“I have a board member right now who wants to get his board to roll back assessments by 50 percent and not fund reserves,” says David C. Swedelson, principal at Swedelson & Gottlieb, a law firm that represents associations in the Los Angeles area. “He’s in [financial] trouble. So he’s getting a petition of homeowners to compel the board to vote to reduce assessments.”

In this ever-scary economy, Swedelson is surely not the only attorney to field questions from boards about whether they can stop or reduce their funding for reserves as a way to ease the burden on homeowners. Some, but not all states, have laws governing associations’ reserve practices, so investigate your state law before your board takes any action.

Here, attorneys offer a taste of how state laws work from their perspective at each end of the country—California and Florida.

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The Science and Art of the Reserve Study

Preparing the annual budget and overseeing a homeowner association’s finances are perhaps the most important responsibilities of the board. It is also a primary duty of the board to maintain and preserve market values of member property. To do so properly, directors must develop a schedule and funding plan for future repair or replacement of common elements, such as swimming pools, decks, paving, concrete, fencing, signs, etc.

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