Survey on Maintaining the Commons
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 12:59:28 -0700 (PDT)
Patricia McBroom, Pleasant Hill Cohousing, <patricia [at]>
is the author of the message below. 
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]> 

Please be careful to reply to her rather than to the list or to Fred. 
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------


        We are seeking information regarding the management and maintenance of 
common property.
        In our third year of residence, we at Pleasant Hill Cohousing in 
California have discovered a need to know more about the legal and 
financial aspects of running a condominium than we anticipated.  We are 
in the process of learning about such things as insurance liability, 
workers compensation, fiduciary responsibility and a host of 
maintenance issues, including the question: who is responsible for 
repairing the plumbing inside unit walls, the owner or the home owners? 
        As  a cohousing community, we differ from a normal condominium, so we 
cannot rely only on traditional condo experience for learning about 
these issues.  Thus, we are surveying other cohousing communities for 
their experiences and decisions. With your answers to the seven 
questions listed below and those of other cohousing communities, we 
will create a data base for running a cohousing-type of condominium 
which we will be glad to share.
        Send your replies by email to <patricia [at]> or, by paper, to 
address given below, and thank you very much for your help. Be sure to 
include your name, telephone number and E-mail address so we can share 
our results with you.

        Patricia McBroom
        Pleasant Hill Cohousing
        2200 Lisa Lane
        Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
        Telephone: 925-686-6806


Name of Respondent_____________
Cohousing Community____________
City or state of community___________
Telephone number_____________
E-mail address________________

1.  For maintenance and/or repair work, please indicate the practice 
your community follows by checking the appropriate lines.  In addition 
to volunteer work, does your community:
        ___pay one or more community members to repair or maintain common 
        ___hire a handyman  from within the community to do repairs on common 
        ___hire members for maintenance work that does not include repairs?
        ___hire only from outside sources for repair and maintenance?
        ___require that all paid repair people who work on common property be 
        ___require that all paid repair people  who work on common property 
carry insurance?
        ___have workmen?s compensation insurance?
        ___have workmen?s compensation that you believe covers volunteer 
        ___pay any members of the community for work other than repair and 
                If so, what kinds of paid work other than repairs?      

2.  If you use paid residents for maintenance work, have there been any 
significant problems as a result?  If yes, please give brief 

3.  Has your community ever sought professional legal advice, not 
including the initial formation of your organization prior to move-in?  
If yes, why?  Was the information useful?
        ___not useful

4.  Who is responsible for repairing leaks and maintaining plumbing 
installed in the nonparty walls of  individual units:
        ___ the residents
        ___ the home owner?s association?

5.  Have members of your community had different interpretations of 
your CC&Rs or governing documents?  How was the difference resolved?    
        ___by getting legal advice
        ___by getting other professional consultation
        ___by rewriting the CC&Rs
        ___by other means

6.  Do you conduct a reserve study every few years?

7. Are  you fully funded to the reserve study?s recommendations?

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