Associations should review their CC&Rs to see if they contain language requiring the association to maintain its common areas in a "first-class condition." If so, the board should not defer maintenance. Directors should make sure the association has adequately funded reserves and they should conduct regular inspections of the condition of the common areas. This should include some way to evaluate systems inside the walls (plumbing especially). Failure to do so could result in liability for the association if persons or property are damaged as a result of a common area component failure.
In a 2019 case called "Sands v. Walnut Gardens," plaintiffs sued the association for a pipe on the roof that broke causing water damage to their bedroom. The trial court granted a nonsuit in favor of the association. The appellate court reversed. The CC&Rs required the association to keep the project in a “first class condition.” Witnesses testified the association failed to perform preventative maintenance and roof pipes had not been inspected or maintained in years.
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