Arizona's monsoon season officially begins today, June 15, and runs through September 30, according to the National Weather Service. Monsoon season brings with it humidity, dust, rain, and high winds, all of which can create potential hazards for Community Associations. Such potential hazards include, but are not necessarily limited to, flooding of common areas, broken/downed trees, roof leaks/damage, wall damage, and damage to other common elements such as amenity shade structures, pool furniture, and more. Below are some tips for Community Associations as we enter monsoon season.
Stormwater Systems - Community Associations are responsible for maintaining their stormwater systems such as dry wells, headwalls, and other similar piping systems designed to properly move stormwater around the property or remove stormwater from the property. These systems should be inspected annually. Most stormwater companies will inspect your stormwater systems free of charge and provide you a proposal for any areas in need of cleaning and/or repair. Community Associations are strongly encouraged to include stormwater system cleaning/repairs in their annual budget, either in the fall, immediately following monsoon season, or in the spring, before the start of monsoon season.
Tree Care - Trees are often one of the biggest assets in Community Associations. Unfortunately, they are also often one of the most neglected assets in Community Associations. This is because proper tree care is expensive and isn't as tangible as other improvements. We encourage all Community Associations to establish a tree care/maintenance program. Properly maintained trees are less susceptible to storm and high wind damage during monsoon season. There are several excellent tree care companies in the valley who can help your community establish multi-year plans/programs. If your landscape contractor has a tree care division, they may be able to help with this as well.
Roofs - For condominium and townhome communities, at which the Association is responsible for roof maintenance, monsoon season typically results in a number of roofing problems such as leaks, broken/falling tiles, etc. In many cases, this is not entirely preventable. You can, however, help minimize problems by having your roofs inspected annually and any repairs completed accordingly. In fact, annual roof inspections and maintenance by the installing company or another manufacturer-approved contractor are required to maintain roof warranties in many cases.
Common Area Shared Walls - As communities start to age and their walls start to weaken, high winds have been known to topple sections of walls. You can drastically reduce the risk of this occurring by:
Including funding for more substantial wall repairs/replacements in your reserve study. Most reserve studies only include minor wall repairs and painting, unless you specifically request differently from your reserve specialist. Newer communities can get ahead of this otherwise unfunded expense by adding this to their reserve study and reserve funding plan now.
Inspecting all Common Area shared walls annually and repairing/replacing damaged sections as needed.
Other Common Elements - Hopefully, you or your management partner are regularly inspecting all of your common elements. Even if that is not the case, a thorough inspection of common elements, including, but not necessarily limited to, pool furniture, amenity shade structures, signs, and decorative fencing, is warranted before monsoon season. Ensure all such common elements are in proper repair and properly secured going into monsoon season. Along these same lines, pool umbrellas are discouraged in most Community Associations. If your community employs lifeguards and/or other pool staff, pool umbrellas can be a welcome asset, but should be taken down at the end of each day and whenever there is an incoming storm.