Homeowners vs. HOA: Who Is Responsible?

One of the perks of property ownership is being part of a homeowner’s association. This is especially true if you live in a town house or condominium community. The homeowner association (HOA) can take care of repairs in certain areas of the community that everybody uses without having to be prompted. It’s a great, albeit imperfect, system.

There are certain gray areas, though, in instances where either the HOA is responsible for repairs or the tenants themselves are responsible. This gray area extends to cost responsibility for exterior building maintenance. Whose job is it to fix a shutter: the homeowner or the HOA?

This article will answer that question and more.

HOA governing documents

Before we get into who is responsible for what between homeowners and the HOA, when in doubt, please refer to the HOA’s governing documents. These should include the Declarations, Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R). This is because not all states or HOAs are the same, and their governing documents should help clear up any confusion. If, after consulting the CC&R, you’re still unsure about who’s responsible for a repair, bring it up at the next HOA meeting with the board.

Common areas

The HOA is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all common areas in the community. This could include areas like the gym, the pool and the lobby to any condominium or town house complex. Everyone living in the community pays their dues to the HOA, and it’s partly to cover the maintenance of common areas.

Limited common areas

A limited common area is an area that is used by more than one person in the community but is not available to everyone in the community. A common example of a limited common area is a shared balcony. Your condominium unit might open onto a balcony that you and another tenant may use. In this example, you and the other tenant would be responsible for ensuring that the balcony is clean, painted and well maintained.

Individual units

For the most part, you as the homeowner are responsible for anything inside your unit. This means that anything from the floor to the ceiling is your responsibility—but just because it’s your responsibility, doesn’t necessarily mean you can do anything you want with your unit. There may be exceptions and certain esoteric regulations in your HOA’s CC&R.


Consult your HOA’s CC&R, because there may be restrictions on what you can and cannot do on your property. For example, some HOAs may limit the colors that you can paint your front gate. Some regulations might bar you from conducting certain activities on the balcony of your unit, like smoking or barbecuing. The HOA sometimes recognizes certain parts of your property as common areas (like a balcony) and, thus, can make rules regarding them. When considering your shutters, you may wonder if the HOA is responsible for repairs. Because the HOA is usually responsible for the building’s exterior, like the roof, they will often replace your shutters if they’re broken, but it’s you, the homeowner, who’s responsible for maintaining them.

Call for your exterior building maintenance today

Figuring out the cost responsibility for exterior building maintenance can be difficult, but if you require exterior building maintenance, call us at Knauss Property Services, LLC. in Indianapolis, IN, where we can perform a vast array of exterior building maintenance services, from eco-friendly cleaning to emergency leak repair.