The HOA landscape maintenance agreement signed by the area’s homeowners association and the maintenance company doing the lawncare needs is thorough, detailed, and understood by both parties. Within an HOA, there’s generally an expected level of workmanship that each property owner has, and it is the job of the HOA to ensure that happens through any lawn care or exterior service provider hired. The good news is with a well-qualified company, you can count on impressive results as long as everyone understands the expectations.
Setting HOA Landscape Maintenance Agreement Standards
Before considering the details of any landscape agreement, HOAs should consider their specific needs. What are the expectations of maintaining the property according to the guidelines that each of the member properties has? For example, are all residential properties maintained by the lawn care company or just common, shared ground? These types of decisions fall on the shoulders of the HOA to communicate well with the landscape crew during an initial consultation. It’s important to know what needs to be done and the type of workmanship expected before moving forward.
After that initial consultation, consider the HOA landscape agreement carefully. It should outline everything that needs to be completed. Here’s a look at some of the most important components of that agreement.
What Is the Scope of the Work?
It’s important to consider the scope of work to ensure it is fully outlined and expanded within the HOA landscape maintenance agreement. This should outline every service that the maintenance company will provide. For example, will the maintenance provider just cut grass or will it also help with weed control, leaf removal, and mulching? This ranges widely from one HOA to the next. During your consultation and walkaround with the maintenance team, talk about these types of needs. Here are a few examples you may wish to consider.
Grass Cutting and Trimming
At the heart of most HOA landscape maintenance agreements with landscaping companies are the grass-cutting services. Trimming, which may not always be included in the contract, can help to define areas and control growth. Outline expectations here for where grass needs to be cut, the length of the trim, as well as any specifics for special areas such as playgrounds or sports fields.
Tree and Shrub Care
This may include trimming bad branches from time-to-time. It may also include shaping and pruning trees and brushes to keep them properly fitted to the area. Pruning is also an important step in maintaining the health of these plants.
Pest control, as it relates to landscaped areas, may include various steps to ensure the property is well-maintained. Yet, it’s also important to consider things like who will use those spaces and whether organic or traditional pest control treatments will be used.
Though it may be beneficial on an annual basis, proper aeration is an investment in the long-term growth and health of a lawn. Ensuring a property maintenance company can complete it when needed, helps ensure proper grass health.
Most property management companies do not install landscape irrigation systems (though some companies are happy to design and install these for you as well). However, installation is just one step. Your service agreement may include checks of the system to ensure it is operating properly and hitting all target areas well.
Debris removal may include removing fallen branches, picking up trash left behind in common areas, and managing the overall area’s aesthetics. It can be an important way to help ensure the property continues to thrive.
Mulching works to protect tree roots and helps create a beautiful space. It can be an excellent investment in adding value to a property. Mulching shared or common areas are common, especially during the spring or fall season.
Like pest control, your HOA landscape standards need to be met with weed control as well. This should include addressing the specific needs of various areas of the property and the type of product being used to preserve the lawns.
Define the Frequency
Depending on the type of services you require, it’s important that any HOA landscape maintenance standards be outlined for how frequently these tasks should be performed. For example, grass cutting may be acceptable one time a week. You may only need pest and weed control every six weeks, though.
Outline the frequency based on a set timeline (once a week, every month, etc) or if it should be done as needed. In an as-needed situation, it’s ideal to determine what sets the rule for when the task is completed. For example, tree trimming may be something that is done only when there is overgrowth.
Outline Specific Areas
Within an HOA, there are several key decisions that need to be made based on the amount of area maintained by the company. In some residential HOA, the grass trimming of individual yards is done by the property owner, not by the HOA. In other areas, especially in areas with shared buildings, such as condominium developments, HOA fees include grass cutting and lawn maintenance services.
The HOA landscape maintenance agreement signed, then, needs to specifically outline which areas need maintenance and which do not. Often, a map of the community, especially if it is large, is the best way to outline these goals. Ensure it is clearly understood within the contract to protect all parties.
Payment Terms and Contract Details
The contract should outline other requirements as well, including when payment is due, how much the fees are, and how they should be collected. Define what type of payment method is acceptable. In addition to this, outline the frequency of payment.
Many times, HOA landscape maintenance standards will include a flat fee for specific work. There may be add-on fees for services not performed on a routine basis. Be sure to understand the differences here to ensure clarity in the true cost of the contract.
HOA Landscape Maintenance Agreement Guidelines for Feedback and Problem Management
What happens if residents are not happy with the workmanship? What if there is a problem that arises? When the HOA landscape maintenance guidelines are set, they should include some method for the property owners to talk to and with the landscape company to correct problems. Be sure that’s carefully outlined within any contract before signing it. This ensures everyone is happy with the details and has the ability to take action when necessary.
Ready to Learn More About Your Options?
Work with ASI Landscape Management to learn more about how high HOA landscape maintenance standards. Let us custom create an agreement that’s right for your needs. Contact our team today.