There seem to be at least two contrasting views of expensive community association recreational amenities – one that’s favorable, and another that’s cautiously skeptical. The first view is generally held by a minority of a condominium’s residents who actually use a condominium’s swimming pool, community room, or tennis court. The second, more cynical, view is often held by condominium boards who must wrestle with the myriad of fiscal and practical realities attendant to managing association amenities.
Managing common amenities is fraught with potential peril for even the most well-intentioned board. The board must become familiar with, and be sensitive to, anti-discrimination laws as it formulates both rules of conduct and operating hours for amenities – for example, resisting the temptation to establish “adult-only” usage hours that may be deemed to inadvertently discriminateagainst families with children.
And association boards must also manage the risk of potential injuries to those who use the association’s amenities, with an eye toward potential lawsuits. These risks are best managed in consultation with the association’s insurance agent who can best advise the board as to both the extent and types of coverage options for the board to consider in anticipation of potential amenities-related personal injury lawsuits.
Most significantly these days, condominium boards must deal with the financial realities attendant to association amenities – both as part of the association’s regular operating budget and, perhaps equally important, as part of the association’s longer term replacement reserve plan.
Good financial planning and management practice requires boards to consider the cost of replacing particular amenities over time as part of the association’s reserve replacement strategy. Otherwise, the day will come when the cost of resurfacing the tennis courts, re-roofing the clubhouse, or replacing the common swimming pool will certainly rear its ugly head – whether or not the board has planned appropriately.