Q: My part-time neighbors’ smoke alarms have been going off for six days and nights. Everyone says they cannot reach the owner. What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, there is not too much an association can do, other than send the homeowner a letter to not only inform them of the problem but also to ask for contact information for any future issues.
Q: If you live in a condo community, and the unit above you had a water leak to the unit below, and if the unit does not have insurance, does the association insurance cover the damage?
A: Generally speaking, the association’s insurance policy is primary as to property damages, subject to the deductible and depreciation. These policies do not include any upgrades that a homeowner may have on his or her home. Homeowners who live in condominiums should obtain what is called an HO6 insurance policy, which supplements and compliments the primary insurance policy held by the association.
In your case, the association should be contacted so that a claim can be made against the association’s insurance policy.
One final note, some associations have substantially higher deductibles for leaks based upon the numerous losses the insurance company has absorbed.
Q: Your last couple of articles talked about spending limits of 1 percent and 3 percent, depending on association size. You usually give a reference when you quote Nevada law but in those articles you didn’t. I tried to find it and was only able to find those percentage limits mentioned when the board should get more than one estimate. Nothing on spending limits.
A: The purpose of the operating budget is to guide the board on how to spend its funds, by estimating in advance what the anticipated expenses should be. In addition, the reserve study breaks down capital expenses, which also guides the board as to the cost and timing of major funding, often with the best and worst-case numbers.
Other than the bidding process of the 1 percent and 3 percent that you mention, there are no other explicit state laws as to spending limits.
Can expenses be more than anticipated? Yes. There are many scenarios where the association may not have anticipated an expense or where the budget was underfunded for a particular line item.
State law does require boards to review their financial status. This can help the board stay on track. Sometimes, it does require the board to vote no on an expense that is desirable but not immediately needed or budgeted for the year.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.