Maintenance responsibilities in condominium, homeowner (HOA), and townhome community associations are not always clear. Is the association or is the unit owner responsible in the event of a repair issue? Who is responsible for a maintenance issue involving a common element?

With the common elements potentially affecting multiple units, property grounds outside of the building, etc. board members and property managers may be faced with even more questions.

  • Who is responsible for structural issues in a condo or HOA?
  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for foundation cracks or problems?
  • Who is responsible for sewer lines in a condo or HOA?
  • Who is responsible for slab leaks in a condo or HOA?
  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for the storm drain?
  • Is the HOA responsible for the front door?
  • What is the condo or HOA responsibility for slope drainage?
  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for fallen trees or tree damage?
  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for security?
  • Who is responsible for the sidewalk?
  • Who is responsible for the fire sprinkler system in a condo?


What is a Common Element?

A common element is defined as all portions of the property except the units.

Examples of common elements include fitness centers, elevators, lobbies, walkways, lighting in common hallways, garbage collection areas, swimming pools, landscaping, club houses, and more.


What is a Limited Common Element?

Common elements can also be divided into another category called limited common elements. Limited common elements are a portion of the common elements reserved for the use of a certain unit or units to the exclusion of other units. These can include balconies, parking spaces, patios and more.

Your community association may be tasked with answering some of these common questions about limited common elements, including:

  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for balcony repairs?
  • Who is responsible for replacing windows in a condo?
  • Is the condo or HOA responsible for the patio?


In Search of Answers

Referring to the association’s governing documents will typically answer common elements and limited common elements responsibility questions.

Additionally, asking your KSN attorney to prepare a Maintenance Responsibility Chart is proactive and a convenient reference tool that helps to resolve uncertainty. KSN attorneys can create this chart for community association clients by:

  • Reviewing your association’s governing documents (bylaws, CC&Rs, declaration, articles of incorporation, rules and regulations, etc.)
  • Mapping maintenance responsibilities to the specific language in your association’s governing documents

A Maintenance Responsibility Chart can detail association versus unit owner responsibility for countless property concerns including balconies, doors, driveways, fixtures, painting, parking spaces, snow removal, storage areas, and much more.


Legal Resource

Do not hesitate to contact our law firm if your association has questions regarding a Maintenance Responsibility Chart, the Board’s fiduciary duties, governing documents, vendor contracts, or other legal concerns.

Please call 855-537-0500 or visit

Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collections, landlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.


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