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Homeowners feel harassed by board, management company

Q: Our management company is walking around doing their monthly inspections for violations. The company was hired in July and I know different management companies handle violations differently. However, we need to either apply the rules and not pick and choose which ones will be enforced. They are enforcing rules like a cooler (small) one on the patio or blinds not fully closed. Small, and I mean small, violations. Yet, we have one unit that changed the windows and painted the porch floor a horrid color and painted the security door brown. All violations. Now, you will say, well, maybe they have filed a violation notice. When I was on the board and pointed it out to the board and management nothing was done. Management could be working on it and I feel she can just tell us its being handled without any other information. I don’t believe they are dealing with it. We homeowners are feeling harassed.

We pay the Ombudsman Office $750 a year. We want them to represent all the homeowners that are being harassed. We have started a petition. What form do we fill out to the Ombudsman Office to get represented by them?

I appreciate your input to direct us how to handle this. We feel the Real Estate Division protects the management and not the homeowners. We have an investment here and want to be heard.

A: It is not the function of the Ombudsman Office to formally represent a homeowner. It is a governmental agency that must maintain impartiality when a case is assigned to one of their investigators as a result of a complaint.

When a complaint is investigated, the Ombudsman Office requires both parties to submit specific documentation that pertains to the complaint. Generally speaking, the office would require the board and or management company to submit relevant documents, along with copies of the governing documents, financial information (if pertinent), board and executive minutes. The homeowner, too, would need to provide documentation that the association was in violation of Nevada Revised Statutes 116 and or in violation of the association’s governing documents. Based upon the results of their investigation, an association could be found innocent of any violation or found in violation.

You should either call the Ombudsman at 702-486-4480 or send an email to CICOmbudsman@red.nv.gov. Once you explain the situation, they can counsel you as to what options you have, such as to intervention, mediation and or arbitration and what documentation is needed from you.

Q: What other legal rights does the HOA have on a tenant and owner who have had a broken window for over three months now that they refuse to repair? It makes the remaining units look like a boarded up ghetto — unrentable and unsaleable! I realize they have both been informed that the fine is $50 and that as time progresses the fines can increase by $5 per week but other than eventually filing a lien on the property for non-payment of applicable fines does the HOA have the legal right to post a notice on the door of that offending unit that demands the window be replaced? Just as a constant reminder? Or, do all legal rights (exception fines and lien filings) belong to the offending tenant or owner ?

A: The only recourse that your association has is to continue to assess the fine on a weekly basis. Depending upon your association’s enforcement policy, the homeowner could be fined $ 50 per week.

A lien could also be placed on the homeowner’s property.

Finally, the tenant could be denied the use of the association’ s amenities such as the clubhouse, exercise facility, etc (assuming that your association has common amenities).

Q: I am in Las Vegas and in my first homeowners association. I am sending you a letter written by my neighbor. It appears that our HOA leadership is trying to forego procedures to eliminate the possibility of a budget being rejected.

It appears our community was only given a portion of the voting rules to reject the budget. The leaders appear to be using half of a law to make sure the budget is not rejected.

How can our contracted management team say if you don’t show to a meeting to reject a budget we assume you vote to accept a budget? Why not a mail-in ballot?

The budget was submitted to HOA homeowners by our board. The board has not been completely filled because we are new.

When are HOA homeowners supposed to receive a printed budget to review and prepare opposition?

If the perceived procedural issues break Nevada law how does a homeowner go through the process at a board meeting to request that the budget be re-examined by our full board when they take office in January.

The current board members appear to be hand picked by the management group and they forcefully removed the president by bullying her during closed meetings

A: Under state law, Nevada Revised Statute 116.31151, homeowners have the right to reject a budget. Under subsection 3, it states, that unless at a meeting of a majority of the unit owners or any larger vote specified in the association’s governing documents reject the proposed budget, the proposed budget is ratified whether or not a quorum is present. Strictly reading the law, the association is not required to send out ballots.

The ratification meeting of the budget requires the association to provide a summary of the budget not less than 14 days and not more than 30 days after the mailing of the summaries.

If a homeowner believes that the budget ratification process was not properly executed by the board, the homeowner should contact the Nevada Real Estate Division’s Ombudsman Office.

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

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