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HOA cracking down on roommate rules

Q: Can a homeowners association make a rule and fine you if you have a roommate? In Clark County up to four unrelated people are allowed to live in a single-family residence by code. Twice, my friend has been fined $1,000 over roommates. Last time, they said it was running a business. She had only advertised, and had no roommate. I won because the rules allow running a business if it does not create problems.

The HOA recently upgraded their rules, copy attached. They said before that renting a room is leasing. Now, leasing must give exclusive use of the property. She is worried they will fine her again as she now has two roommates. What is the law concerning right to use and what a board can regulate, regarding who can live with you and under what arrangement?

There is no specific wording regarding roommates in the covenants, conditions and restrictions. In the rules and regulations, they have called it leasing or business, in the past. (At) the last hearing a board member told her only someone that she is in a relationship or a blood relative can live in her home. Is that legal?

A: The question becomes, at what point is a roommate, a tenant? Let’s say, my best friend lives with me. I am the homeowner. We have some sharing of costs but the primary reason for us to live together is our friendship. Do you have a lease agreement with your friend? To an association board, once there is a lease agreement, you have a tenant living with you regardless of your friendship.

Your board may have over-reached its authority that now requires, in essence, a roommate must have exclusive rights to the property, especially since that was not the regulation when your friend purchased the home. There is Nevada Supreme Court case law on that issue.

Q: I have many issues with my HOA board. My No. 1 concern is that the board refuses to paint the buildings stating that it’s “too expensive” for the owners to cover the cost.

I’ve had no success getting them to see the problem of not painting buildings that were built in 1973-1974! I’ve worked on the board for about three years and then spent the past year (non-board member) trying to hold the HOA board accountable. They state that they’ll do “refreshes” on the buildings, which means to spot paint the specific areas needing help. The “refresh” only paints visible areas of paint problems but the untouched areas continue to age and degrade and begin to look terrible within a short period of time

They “refreshed” my building 18 months ago and the areas not touched-up are a mess with flaking paint! I reported the problem and I was told that the building would be refreshed again sometime in the future. My building was the last to be refreshed in the community and I believe it took them five years to arrive to do my building, so I imagine that I’ll have to wait another five years to have the peeling exterior paint resolved.

I filed official complaints with Nevada Real Estate Division but their “investigation” appears to have been to call the HOA and take their word for it that they “have a plan” (and that) “refreshes work” and “they’ll get to the problem.”

How do I escalate with NRED. I do not feel that they’re doing their job correctly. They’ve ignored my evidence.

I’m looking into getting a lawyer but I don’t want to go that route because of expense and the aggravation. Additionally, the cost to defend against my legal suit will only further hurt my fellow owners.

All I want is for the board to maintain the common elements such as buildings and landscaping. I’m not asking to have board members removed. I’m not asking for new rules. Simply, that they fairly enforcement the current rules specifically (for) maintain(ing) the buildings.

I’m so frustrated. I’m not keen on spending my own money to sue them and I don’t want to move because housing costs are inflated everywhere.

Will you please give me some suggestion on what to do?

Also, can you recommend a professional commercial building inspector? I may pay for an inspection out of pocket to prove that the buildings (and exterior wall) are in bad condition.

A: I do not believe you can have this issue further escalated with the division. It would be a costly and difficult journey for you to sue the association as you would need to file a complaint with the district courts.

You did not state how much money is in the reserve account and did not state what the recommendations were in the repainting of the buildings. This is important. Your association may not have the funds to repaint the community. If this is the case, it raises other issues as to the funding of the reserves.

My only suggestion is for you is to run for the board and to find others who are willing to run for the board in order to make changes in the maintenance and the refurbishing of their community and the funding of their capital expenses.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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