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What are the Benefits and Limitations of a Maintenance Matrix?

Written by: Amy Tinetti, Esq., CCAL

Apr | 4

As community association lawyers, one of the things we are asked to do most often is analyze CC&Rs to determine whether the association or the owners are responsible for a certain component (“who is responsible for what” letters). It is not unusual for CC&Rs, especially those that are original to a condominium development, to be very vague with respect to maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities, especially in the context of exclusive use common area (“EUCA”) components.

One step condominium associations (and, in some cases, attached “townhome” style planned development associations) can take is to have a “maintenance matrix” prepared that identifies, in table form, the components within the development and whether the association or the owners are responsible for those components. A maintenance matrix addresses more than just “maintenance” responsibilities; a matrix addresses the responsibility for maintenance, repair and replacement. A maintenance matrix can be a handy reference tool for community managers and lawyers, especially regarding those components that are frequently the subject of confusion and dispute (e.g., plumbing and windows).

To prepare a maintenance matrix, we work closely with the board and the association’s manager to develop a list of components (especially those that are the subject of confusion for the association), and then analyze the CC&Rs and the law to develop the matrix.

What are the benefits of a maintenance matrix?

A maintenance matrix is convenient, condensed and easy to read and interpret. As stated above, it can be a handy reference tool for homeowners, board members and managers to quickly determine who is responsible for the maintenance, repair and/or replacement of a particular component.

What are the limitations of a maintenance matrix?

A maintenance matrix can’t change the CC&Rs or the default maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities in the law that apply if the CC&Rs are silent. However, a maintenance matrix can make the maintenance, repair and replacement provisions in the CC&Rs (and the law) more digestible.

Is a maintenance matrix a good option for your community?

If the CC&Rs for your condominium development or attached home planned development are old, or original to the development, a maintenance matrix may help fill in the inevitable gaps in the documents regarding maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities. If the board and management find themselves constantly facing questions of whether the association or the owners are responsible for a particular component, and the CC&Rs are silent, vague or confusing (or all three!), a maintenance matrix may be a helpful tool. Although a complete revision of the CC&Rs may be the best option for dealing with old or vague documents, a maintenance matrix may be a cheaper and quicker option to address confusion.

Because a maintenance matrix simply sets forth information in the CC&Rs and the law, a maintenance matrix is not, by definition, an operating rule. Therefore, neither member approval nor a member notice and comment period is required to adopt a matrix.

Contact us to discuss whether a maintenance matrix might be a good option for your association and the estimated cost to prepare a maintenance matrix. Our time to prepare a maintenance matrix is directly related to how detailed the matrix is and the condition of the CC&Rs.