weather icon Clear

Participation is required for HOA members, boards

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

I have had so many conversations with new homeowner association board members and how they work with homeowners and management companies and how they see themselves in their roles. I thought I would address this in a series of columns.

What are the roles of the homeowners, management and board of directors in a homeowner association?

When you purchased your home, your deed specified that your home was located within an association and subject to the governing documents of the association. Upon purchase, you automatically became a member of the association. As a homeowner, you have the obligation to pay your monthly and or special assessments on time and abide by the governing documents, which include the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, bylaws, rules and regulations, as well as architectural or design guidelines.

You have the right to place your name in consideration to become a board of director. Not all associations have a committee system. Some associations have structured committee systems, with key committees that assist their boards in the management of their associations — from the covenants (enforcement of regulations), the architectural (enforcement of design guidelines), the finance (internal audits, money management and budget) and property and grounds (the maintenance and enhancement of the common elements).

What is not stated in any governing documents is that participation is required. Participation in becoming a committee member; participation in becoming a board of director; participation in attending the monthly board meetings and the annual/budget ratification homeowner meetings; and participation in voting, whether it be for directors of approving or rejecting a proposed change in your governing documents.

For many homeowners, they choose not to be involved. Some associations have town hall meetings, which allow the homeowners to have a period of time to express their concerns and recommendations outside of the board meetings, which are specifically structured to allow the boards to transact their business agenda. Boards can take into consideration the comments and recommendations from these town hall meetings but legally the boards are not obligated to act upon them.

Technically, the form of government is that of a “republic” similar to our local and state governments. Homeowners vote for directors who then manage the association. It is not a true form of democracy that you may still find in some small town in Vermont or Maine, where every citizen has the right to vote on every issue. If homeowners do not approve of the decisions being made by the board or by individual board members, they have the right to elect other directors or recall that board or those individual board members. Too often, we hear complaints from individual association members but, unfortunately, many of these homeowners do not want to “step-up to the plate” and take any action.

Next Sunday, I will talk about homeowners’ obligation to follow their governing documents in a HOA.

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.