Townhouse owners ponder taking on maintenance responsibilities
About 35 townhouse owners turned out Tuesday evening for the last of four town hall meetings on proposed CC&R changes that would reduce the homeowner association’s maintenance responsibilities to lower monthly dues. Townhouse owners now pay an assessment of $280 a month, plus Rancho Murieta Association dues of $141. If adopted, the proposed changes could reduce the MTI assessment by as much as 30 percent, according to the committees that developed the proposals.
Member opposition to dues increases of close to 20 percent two years in a row has fueled the drive to change the CC&Rs. Last year, more than 80 MTI members attended a meeting to protest a $40 increase in dues to fund reserves. The funds were needed to replace roofs and make related repairs on aging townhouses that hadn’t been adequately reserved for over the years, the board told members.
The higher dues put the townhouses at a disadvantage with single-family homes in competing for renters and buyers, and pose a hardship to owners, MTI members say.
Bobbie Fite explains the proposed changes to the crowd.
Under the changes that are now being proposed, MTI would still maintain, repair and replace roofs, paint the exterior of the homes and provide insurance coverage for a catastrophic event such as fire, but would no longer be responsible for maintaining or replacing decks, walkways, driveways or exterior wall surfaces. It’s undecided whether gutter cleaning would become a homeowner responsibility. Homeowners would be subject to RMA architectural review and compliance enforcement.
Currently, townhouse owners are responsible for all glass surfaces, including windows, doors and skylights; interior walls, structural elements, drainage, pest control, mold and dry rot, said Bobbie Fite, chair of the MTI Governing Documents Committee. Fite presented the proposals and answered questions from the audience during the 90-minute session.
At its conclusion, MTI members were asked to take a survey indicating whether they would vote for the changes. The proposals would require approval by 60 percent of the 198 townhouse owners who are in good standing. Those in arrears on dues would not be able to vote, and there are currently 33 townhouses in that category, Fite said.
Although MTI CC&Rs appear as part of the RMA CC&Rs, the changes do not affect RMA members who don’t own townhouses.
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