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HOA boards have important role to play in communities

Editor’s note: This is the third column in a three-part series of columns explaining the roles of homeowners, management companies and homeowners association boards.

In the last two columns, I have talked about the roles of the homeowner and the homeowners associations’ management companies.

Finally, we come to the role of the board of directors. By law, this role encompasses such legal terms as fiduciary obligations, duty of care, application of business-judgment rule, good faith (Nevada Revised Statute 116.3103). Board members sign a document for the state that they have read and understand the governing documents of the association and NRS 116 to the best of their ability. (NRS 116 31034 (15).

Board members have an obligation to disclose conflicts of interests. Most associations are organized as nonprofit corporations. The first obligation of the directors is actually to the corporation and not to the homeowners. Why? Because decisions must be based upon the laws and the governing documents of the association as to the management and decision-making of the boards. You, as a homeowner, may not like the fact that the board had to assess a fine against your account but that the board had an obligation to do so as managers of the corporation.

The law is very explicit as to the minimum requirements of the board (NRS 116.31083), which include:

■ Meeting at least once a quarter and not less than 100 days.

■ Reviewing financial information — monthly and yearly operating and reserve statements, reconciliation of all bank accounts.

■ Other statutory requirements include reviewing the reserve accounts to ensure that they are properly funded or that there is a funding plan in progress, preparing operating budgets, holding hearings and imposing reasonable fines and penalties, obtaining and reviewing bids, appointing directors to fill vacancies, adopting rules, consistent with their governing documents, forming committees, entering into contracts and responding to emergencies.

NRS 116.3102 and NRS 116.3103 lists functions or powers of the board of directors, such as instituting or defending litigation actions and regulating maintenance.

What makes the role of the board so difficult is balancing the various needs or demands of the community and its members. Financial concerns require increases in assessments or decreasing services or improving money management. Adopting new rules come with the changing times, such as working at home where many governing documents do not allow conducting business at home. But there is a difference between having a day care at your community versus a consultant who has no visitors and just works on the computer.

Discussions, disagreements and arguments occur as to what degree of enforcement can cause the balancing to shift from one direction to another.

Not everyone is a good communicator, not every board member understands the power of public relations, especially poor public relations that can eventually cause a change in directors. At a board meeting, it is not easy sitting in front of angry or upset homeowner(s) who then attack your personal integrity and character and still maintain “your cool.”

The ideal model is for homeowners, community managers and boards to work together as a team for the benefit of not one individual but for the community at large, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a business organization who deals with members on a daily basis.

Barbara Holland is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

HOA vice president has right to hear complaint against him

If the president wants to review the complaint with the full board, the president should call for a formal hearing. The president should not be judge and jury.

Homeowner says letter wasn’t nice but it wasn’t harassment

I sent management a couple of emails they didn’t like. Now I’m being charged for harassment. There is no bylaw covering “you have to be nice to management,” so they are citing me under a “no firearms are to be discharged/ no unsafe fires are to be started.”

Homeowners association has power to fine fighters

I live in a townhouse community. There is a home where the residents nearly daily get into extremely loud, screaming fights. Police have been called more than a few times. Numerous complaints have been filed to the homeowners association, but nothing seems to be getting done.

What new water restrictions could communities face?

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that we have a major water issue in Southern Nevada. Lake Mead is now 29 percent full. I can remember going to Lake Mead with my family to see the water that was overflowing in the 1990s through the spillways. The writing is on the wall!

New water law unclear when it comes to communities

You are not the only one waiting for clarification. I think we all are waiting for direction. It is my understanding the law, which was passed last legislative session, excluded residential owners who own their own property. This would include their front and backyards. Common areas of an association would fall under the new law as to whether your common area landscape is inefficient use of grass.

Homeowner wants rental cap for new community

Based on the six-month rental clause in your governing documents, there is no rental cap. You could have a significant number of renters. You would have to talk with the developer and see if they are willing to modify the CCRs to have a rental cap not to exceed 25 percent of the units.

Homeowner has long list of HOA complaints

As to the first item: Set an appointment with the management company and bring all of your documentation. It may take then a week or so for their accounting department to go through their records. Assuming that the same management company has been in place during the last six years, the accounting department should be able to view your information against the association records.

Large tree sheds leaves into neighbor’s yard, pool

If you have not contacted the owner of the house, please do so. If you don’t feel comfortable meeting face to face, then send the homeowner a letter. You may want to include some photographs. Ask the owner to please take care of overhangs, otherwise you will be forced to have your landscaper cut the limbs. By placing your neighbor on notice, allowing a reasonable amount of time for the neighbor to respond, you would be reducing any liability from the neighbor by trimming the tree.