Punxsutawney Phil has spoken, and winter will be ending early this year.
Winter is a beautiful season. It's the time of year when the holidays arrive, the new year begins, and snowfall takes place. There are many steps to prepare your HOA community for winter, which means that there are also many steps to prepare for the spring season. To ensure that your board is ready for the end of the winter months, Comsource compiled these five preparation tips to accomplish before the flowers begin to bloom again:
1. Remind Your HOA of the Snow Removal Policy
While most residents in your community will be aware of the snow removal policy, a friendly reminder during the winter season is always helpful for the heavier snows that come in February and March. A yearly reminder refreshes the residents who have lived in your community for years, while also allowing new residents to understand what the community handles and what the residents are responsible for. A yearly reminder is also the perfect time to notify residents of any changes that have been made to the snow removal policy since the previous year. Before any major snowstorms hit, make sure to send out this reminder to all of your residents in the monthly HOA newsletter.
When establishing your community’s snow removal policy, keep in mind what your state law requires.
2. Confirm Landscaping Contractors
If your community uses professional landscapers to handle the maintenance of the common areas, you will want to begin planning a budget and confirming a contractor. If necessary, the end-of-winter gives your community time to receive bids from multiple contractors and compare them against one another to get the best value for your homeowner association. The last thing your board wants is to have weeds taking over the community before you realize that you forgot to hire a landscaping contractor for the spring and summer.
3. De-Winterize Equipment
Now that your board has taken care of the community’s snow removal policy and landscaping contractors, it is time to begin the de-winterizing process. While every community has different equipment, here is a general list of items to keep in mind:
Does your HOA have a community pool? While the summer heat may not arrive for several more months, the beginning of spring is a wonderful time to begin planning for the re-opening. Make sure that you have a pool expert on schedule to de-winterize the community pool before its re-opening if you don’t already have an expert on staff.
If your community provides lifeguards, begin reaching out to lifeguards that you have worked with in the past to ensure that you are properly staffed. In the event that you need more lifeguards, this will give you plenty of time to go through the hiring process before the summer heat arrives.
As the temperatures begin to drop, pipes are more susceptible to busting if they are not properly protected from the winter weather. To ensure that this does not become an issue, many homeowner associations prepare all of the pipes for the winter weather. You will need to get all pipes back in working order as the warmer weather begins to arrive. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Making sure that all exterior faucets and outdoor hoses have not frozen or busted
- Checking the community’s sprinkler system and irrigation system
- Removing any insulation from outdoor pipes
- Running water through the pipes
In the event that any of the community’s pipes or sprinklers have not made it through the winter, you will have time to schedule a contractor to come out and replace the piping before it is needed.
It has been a long winter for your gas-powered equipment, as they likely have not been started in several months. As warmer weather begins to arrive, make sure to closely inspect every piece of gas-powered equipment for any mechanical issues. Fill them back up with gas, turn them on, and let them run for a few minutes. Make sure to keep an eye out for any equipment that may be faulty and need to be replaced. This is the perfect time to take inventory and purchase any new equipment if necessary.
4. Survey The Grounds
Now that you have most of the major spring season preparation tasks complete, appoint a committee of homeowners to survey the grounds in late-March or early-April. During this survey, the homeowner association should:
- Put out any necessary furniture in the common areas
- Get the community’s HVAC professionally checked
- Replace any broken or burned out community lights
- Repair major cracks in the asphalt or sidewalk
- Double-check that all pipes, outdoor hoses, sprinkler system, irrigation system, and equipment have been properly de-winterized
- Inspect exterior of community buildings for cracks, leaks, or entryways for pests
- Do any necessary spring cleaning around the community. Pick up litter that may have accumulated over the winter months.
- Check any other community amenities
5. Plan Seasonal Displays
Many HOA communities go all out when decorating for winter. While those decorations are a large part of what makes the winter so magical, they don’t hold the same magical value when spring rolls around. If you haven’t already, appoint a committee to take charge of seasonal displays. Not only will this group be responsible for taking down the winter displays, but also for planning the spring displays as well. While it may not seem as important as reminding residents of the snow removal policy, confirming contractors, de-winterizing equipment, or surveying the grounds, planning the community’s seasonal display is an important part of what makes spring season special for your residents.
Has your homeowner association considered hiring a community management partner to assist your board? Hiring a community association management company can be a great decision for your HOA or condominium associations neighborhood as long as you hire the right one. To ensure that your board is taking into account all of the necessary factors when making this critical decision, download our guide to choosing a community management partner.Download Our Guide