Identify problem areas before they get worse.

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If deterioration of common elements is detected early, it could save the HOA money if repairs are made before the damage becomes even more costly.

Different seasons bring different property risks. 


Season-specific inspections—such as checking chlorine levels in an outdoor pool during summer, leaf buildup in eaves and gutters in the fall and sidewalks for ice in winter—should be done along with regular inspections.


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Maintenance Matrix. Less maintenance, homeowners pay more.

Individual homeowners now burdened with additional maintenance expense, responsibility, and risk.

Gutters and downspouts are common elements.  Let the Board and management company know that your unit's gutters should be inspected and maintained at no cost to you. You are already paying for common element maintenance.  Send your email to srmaintenancematrix@gmail.com.   Don't let the Board try to convince you that this will increase the budget.  Consideration for the inspection and maintenance of gutters should be covered in the budget as "Maintenance-Homeowners" expense.


September 11, 2018

  • Homeowners were not asked or permitted to discuss, comment, or provide suggestions in the development of the "matrix."  A homeowner request to review the "matrix" (then labeled a "checklist") during its development was denied.
  • The so-called support documents for the matrix omit crucial and relevant information from the Reserve Study, Declaration, Rules & Regulations, Financial Committee meeting minutes, and TOA sales documentation.
  • There are ten months of Board-approved Property Reports that have recorded inspection, maintenance, and repair of gutters for "select" homeowners (at no charge).  Why not provide the same maintenance and service to all homeowners?  The Board is engaging in selective enforcement.
    (Source:  Management Company Property Reports and documentation)

The "Maintenance Matrix" (originally called "Responsibility Checklist") created and approved by the Board is an attempt to burden individual homeowners with additional maintenance expense, responsibility, and risk.


When the presentation was made for the new storage building, one of the main concerns cited, and accepted by the Board, was that "we shouldn't have residents in a 55+ community climbing a ladder (to the attic) to store furniture."  However, it seems fine with the Board that we have senior residents climbing ladders to clean and inspect gutters!  Or the resident can pay someone to do it, when residents are already paying a monthly fee for common element maintenance.  Is that fair, or even logical?


"Gutters and downspouts are common elements." (Reserve Study)

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Tell the Board and management company the "Maintenance Matrix" is incorrect. Advise them that your unit's gutters should be inspected and maintained at no cost to you. You are already paying for common element inspection and maintenance.

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Don't let the Board try to convince you that this will increase the budget. Your monthly assessment fee already includes the maintenance of common elements. The monthly assessment also includes payment to the management company for inspections of common elements.

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There are ten months of Board-approved Property Reports that have recorded inspection, maintenance, and repair of gutters for "select" homeowners (at no charge). Why not provide the same maintenance and service to all homeowners?

Gutter Maintenance and Repair Information for Homeowners

Please take a moment and read this document to understand why you do not have to risk injury or expense to have your home's gutters maintained and repaired.

HOA Responsibility for Gutter Maintenance (pdf)

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June, 2018 Yikes!! No inspection of the Clubhouse exterior in the past 18 months!

According to the "Property Reports" submitted by the management company,  May 2018 was the first time an inspection of the Clubhouse exterior was reported.  


The management company contract requires monthly inspections of the common elements.  There should be an inspection of the Clubhouse exterior every month...not once every 18 months.


See the example below that demonstrates the importance of Clubhouse inspections and maintenance.

Example: No Inspection and Poor Maintenance

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May 2018 - Clubhouse Closed

"The Great Room, Kitchen and Dinette areas of the Clubhouse will be closed and unavailable for use Monday, May 7 through Friday, May 18.  During this time, the Great Room flooring will be removed and replaced." (Source:  HOA Website)

April 2018 - Clubhouse: another roof leak develops

"Great Room Repairs – The entire floor will need to be replaced...The back part of roof has been repaired and (is) no longer leaking, however now the front roof seems to be leaking and in need of repair."  (Source:  Sewickley Ridge Clubhouse & Pool Committee Meeting Minutes, April 5, 2018)

March 2018 - Clubhouse roof begins leaking again

Residents and Central Blood Bank representatives witness the ceiling leaking.  The Central Blood Bank's equipment had to be moved to prevent damage to the computers.

(Source:  March 2, 2018 SR Blood Drive)

February 2018 - Ice dam causes interior leaking and damage

"...the ice dam that developed on the clubhouse roof resulting in interior leaking and damage to the Great Room and the steps being taken to have the roof as well as the Great Room repaired."  (Source:  February 10, 2018 Special Meeting of the Executive Board of Directors)

January 2018 - Clubhouse: ice jam, leak in wall and ceiling

"As a result of what we believe to be an ice jam/dam in the gutters of the clubhouse, a leak has developed in the wall and ceiling of the clubhouse Great Room."  (Source:  email from noreply@sewickleyridgehoa, Thursday, 1/18/2018)

September 2017 - Clubhouse: roof leak

Roof leak at corner back of the clubhouse. (Source:  Property Management "Report", September, 2017)

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Gutter Responsibility: Homeowner response to the HOA Board President, 6/11/2018*:

"It may be helpful for the Board to perform a more thorough review of the ““Replacement Reserve Report FY 2018 Sewickley Ridge” and the “Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge Declaration.”


1.  The following information is provided to you as an explanation as to why I believe the gutters on our unit at xxx Independence Way are common elements which are the responsibility of the Association to be inspected, maintained and repaired. It is also my understanding that the [management company] is contractually obligated to inspect our community’s common elements monthly.


  • The individual unit gutters have been designated common elements. (Reference: “Replacement Reserve Report FY 2018 Sewickley Ridge” conducted by Miller Dodson Associates, Revised October 3, 2017]
  • Scope (of Replacement Reserve Report): “The survey examined the common elements of the property, including:
    • Exterior unit building roofs, gutters and downspouts, vinyl siding, fiber plastic gutter, band, rake, fascia board and trim.”
  • Common Elements are considered Controlled Facilities managed and maintained by the HOA
  • Note the following terms as defined in the Declaration [Source: Declaration, Article 2.2 ]:
    • “Common Elements” means to the Common Facilities and the Controlled Facilities, as shown on the Plats and Plans.
    • “Controlled Facilities”: any land, buildings or improvements within the Community (whether or not part of a Unit) which are not owned by the Association but which are repaired, replaced, regulated, managed, insured, controlled or maintained by the Association, other than the Common Facilities, including without limitation the roofs and siding of the Units.
  • The term “Maintenance” as defined in the Declaration: “Maintenance” means maintenance, preventive maintenance, repair and replacement and “Maintain” means maintain, repair and replace. (Article 2.3)
  •  “…the Association shall be responsible for Maintenance of the Common Elements” [Source: Declaration, Article 3.3 (a)]
  • “The roofs and exterior walls of Homes shall be Maintained by the Association.” (Source: Declaration, Article 3.3 (c)]
  • “…the Association shall, through a qualified independent contractor, inspect all Common Elements and Limited Common Elements on a regular basis as reasonably necessary, for the purpose of determining the condition of the Common Elements and Limited Common Elements and need for Maintenance work.. [Source: Declaration, Article 3.3 (e)]

As you can see from the above information, the gutters on our home are designated as common element. Your references to “limited common elements” and unit roof access in the Rules & Regulations are irrelevant and superfluous to this discussion. 


2. I have spoken to neighbors who have informed me that they have had their gutters inspected, cleaned and repaired after submitting a maintenance request. They were not required to hire a contractor or pay for any of the services.


Why would we, as neighboring homeowners, be advised by you to hire and pay someone to address our gutter issues?  Why the double-standard?  I would hope that the Board’s decision to treat us differently is not a vindictive action taken against homeowners who have openly questioned the Board’s performance.


I also have a list of residences from the monthly [management company] reports who have had gutters inspected, sealed, and repaired. I am happy to share this list with you, with the understanding that you can provide documentation that the homeowners listed were also advised to hire and pay an outside contractor to address their gutter problems. 


I simply wish to make sure that all homeowners are being treated fairly and equitably by both the Board and [management company]. It would be disturbing to think that some homeowners were provided service that others were denied." 


* There was no reply from the Board.

Homeowner Request for Property Maintenance Plan Ignored

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Email request sent to the Board September 24, 2018 - NO RESPONSE FROM HOA BOARD

"Please provide me with a copy of the community's current maintenance plan.  Not the new "matrix", but the current, comprehensive property maintenance plan that has been executed since January 2017.


If it is available in electronic form you can send it to this email address. Or, if there is a website where the plan is located, please provide the URL.


Please send me a copy of the existing Property Maintenance Plan no later than Tuesday, September 25, 2018.


Thank you."

Ignoring or neglecting necessary inspections and maintenance can have very serious consequences.

We need a maintenance plan now! Not another committee.

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We've been asking for a comprehensive, proactive maintenance plan for over a year.

August 27, 2018:  The Board announces the formation of a new committee to address our maintenance needs.  Great...another committee but still no plan.


You can follow our year-long effort to establish a comprehensive maintenance (and inspection) process by going to the "Inspections/Maintenance" page on this website.  Just click on the button below.

Inspections/Maintenance info

The Board should stop wasting time with bureaucratic "busy work."

This current Board has been in control of our HOA since January, 2017. And now they decide we need a comprehensive, proactive maintenance plan?   But first they want to spend valuable time selecting, interviewing, and approving members for another committee.  We are asking the Board to please stop wasting time with bureaucratic "busy work" and immediately start developing an executable plan for professional inspections and maintenance to protect the community and property values.  A plan that should have been a priority a year ago.


Every association should develop its own individualized plan for maintenance and upkeep of all common areas. Deferral of necessary upkeep only serves to prolong the inevitable - - at a cost (in dollars as well as property value) that is more often than not far greater than sacrificing to do what is right and necessary in a timely fashion.  


Association directors must be aware of their association’s maintenance and repair responsibilities and diligently perform their duties when they become aware of a need for maintenance, repair, or replacement of common area components. IGNORING OR NEGLECTING NECESSARY INSPECTIONS AND MAINTENANCE CAN HAVE VERY SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES.

Clubhouse example

The Declaration requires the Board to have regular, professional and independent inspections.

Article 3.3 (e)

After the Declarant transfers control of the Board to the Association, the Association shall, through a qualified independent contractor, inspect all Common Elements and Limited Common Elements on a regular basis as reasonably necessary, for the purpose of determining the condition of the Common Elements and Limited Common Elements and need for Maintenance work. Reasonably detailed written reports of such inspections shall be prepared by the independent contractor and submitted to the Association, and copies shall be made available to all Unit Owners.

The Committee description does not include any requirements for regular inspections.

So we respectfully remind the Board that professional inspections (as required in the Declaration, see above) are necessary to determine actual maintenance needs.  

If the management company is doing their job -- why do we need a committee to duplicate work?

Maybe the management company is not fulfilling their contractual responsibilities.  


Compare the committee description to the following management company's contract obligations:

  

25. Capital Improvements. Manager shall make such periodic recommendations as are necessary or appropriate to the Board with respect to capital improvements and reserves for capital improvements.

26. Maintenance. Manager is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of the Common Elements as generally described in the Introduction and specifically in the Community Documents.  The Manager shall perform, at a minimum, monthly inspections of the Common Elements. Safety hazards or code violations noted in the ordinary course of business should be reported to the Board immediately.  As a result of the inspections, the Manager will issue a report to the Board identifying all issues requiring attention and for those of a capital nature, provide an estimated cost and recommended timing for required improvements. An estimate of the impact on reserves for such capital improvements should also be included in the report.

(Source:  Management Company Contract)

   

Gutters + Downspouts = Common Elements

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The Board's Duty to Maintain Common Elements Cannot be Delegated to Individual Homeowners

October 24, 2018

The Maintenance Matrix is incorrect. The Board is obligated by law* to provide maintenance to all common elements. That duty cannot be delegated to individual owners. It is improper for the Board to expect homeowners to take over its obligations and force homeowners to spend money on inspections and maintenance (in addition to the regular, monthly assessment already being paid.)

* PA Uniform Planned Community Act; § 5307.  Upkeep of planned community. 


What happened to the survey?

What happened to the survey to determine homeowner interest in HOA gutter maintenance?

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"As discussed at the last HOA meeting (Nov. 2018), a survey is being planned to investigate community interest in gutter maintenance." *

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* Source: Minutes from the Communications Committee Meeting – Monday November 19, 2018 (4 months ago)

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Subject: flood lights

After a recent meeting, we have had some questions about flood lights and our Rules & Regulations.

Everyone wants the same thing: a chance to relax in his or her own environment. We can work together to create an atmosphere that benefits the community.  Our goal is to find solutions so all homeowners can feel sate and comfortable in their homes.


Click on the "Find Out More" button to access an article "My Neighbor's Lighting."  It contains suggestions on dealing with lighting issues and solutions to help residents work together to address lighting situations.

"Light Trespass" - What is it?

"Light trespass" occurs when spill light is cast where it is not wanted.

Find out more
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what is Storm water management?

Sewickley Ridge HOA Responsibility for the Storm Water Management System

Homeowners collectively pay for ongoing maintenance and repair of all of the following:

  • storm water ponds
  • rain gardens
  • dams, weirs, or gates that control water levels in ponds
  • dry storm water detention basins
  • swales and channels that control storm water runoff
  • underground pipes and catch basins

Keeping storm water facilities in good repair is costly.  Proper maintenance of storm water systems is critical to their performance, as it ensures the structures remain effective as designed.  All systems require continuing operation, inspection and maintenance.   


We rely on storm drains to carry large amounts of runoff from roofs and paved areas to nearby waterways. In urban and suburban areas, much of the land surface is covered by buildings and impervious pavement, which do not allow rain and snowmelt to soak into the ground. 


For example:  In our community, construction with impervious materials interferes with the function of a storm water management element such as a swale that is designed to carry water during storms.  This adversely affects neighboring homes and common property and leads to costly remediation that must be paid for by the HOA (which is you the homeowner).


TOA at Sewickley Ridge Declaration definition:  "Storm Water Management System" means all storm water drainage facilities to collect or control water on the Property and facilities related thereto such as detention basins, storm water conveyance pipe, inlets and controls, Rain Gardens, drainage easements, drainage swales and related facilities shown on the Plan from time to time located outside of legal rights of way of dedicated streets."


Declaration Article 6.1 (h)(ii)  "...all such Storm Water Management System shall be kept in good working order and repair at all times. The Association is perpetually responsible for maintenance of the Storm Water Management System. This obligation shall run with the Property and be binding on the Association.  These maintenance obligations shall include mowing the grass, maintaining the basins, swales and Rain Gardens, and maintenance of the plantings and ground cover in the Storm Water Management System."  


BMPs [Best Management Practices] are structural, vegetative or managerial practices used to treat, prevent or reduce water pollution.  Cleaning, inspecting, and maintaining storm water BMPs is far from glamorous -- but it is essential.

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We need everyone to do their share in maintaining a safe and healthy environment. 

Find out more