Potholes In Your Planned Community? What Every Homeowners Association Board Member Needs To Know

Planned communities with homeowners associations are appealing to homeowners who prefer neighborhood attractiveness, community safety, and less maintenance for each homeowner. The most visible common areas of planned communities are the roadways and streets, which do require maintenance and repairs, particularly when potholes develop. 

Potholes in roads can cause damage to vehicles, so it's a good idea to have the potholes in your community repaired. But who pays for the expense? Here's what you need to know if you are on the board of directors of a homeowners association. 

Who is responsible for the roadways? 

The first thing to find out is who is responsible for the roadways. This information will be contained in the plat description. A plat is a legal description that includes detailed information such as easements, boundaries, and the roadways of your community. If the board does not have a copy of the plat on hand, one can be obtained at the local county courthouse in the land records department. Be sure to get a certified copy from the clerk. Alternatively, hire an association attorney firm like Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC to handle this for you as well as to read through the legal descriptions for a better understanding of who is responsible for the repairs. 

The plat will tell you if the roadways are private, public, or dedicated. If private, the homeowners association and property owners are responsible for all maintenance and repairs. If the roadways are public, the municipality, county, or state is responsible, depending on the annotations in the plat description. If the roadways are dedicated, this means that the roadways are currently considered private but in the process of being transferred to the public. 

What is the process for getting roadways repaired? 

This depends on who is responsible for the roadways. If they are private or dedicated, you will need to hire a roadway repair contractor. It's important to understand, however, that private roadways are not regulated to the same extent as public roadways. Dedicated roadways, on the other hand, may need to be repaired according to regulations depending on your local government's requirements. Again, with the legal verbiage involved, it's safest to contact an association attorney for advice. 

If the roadways in your community are public, you'll need to contact the transportation department in your county and ask the clerk for a form so you can submit a roadway repair request. Be sure to include a copy of the plat description when you submit the form.