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

Updated August 1, 2022 - 3:31 pm

Q: I ran across your name and qualifications while reading up on homeowners associations.

My question is: Can an HOA fine you for something not in the bylaws?

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.” This section of the bylaws clearly concerns the physical safety of residents and property. Is that legal for them to fine me for something not in the bylaws?

A: Yes, associations can fine you for situations not found in the bylaws, as long as they follow the due process of your enforcement/fine policy. Under certain circumstances, if you were violating the state harassment laws, you could be brought to a hearing. If you look through your covenants, conditions and restrictions you may find a section whereby homeowners agree to reside within the community and not violate state or federal laws.

As to your association citing no firearms, unless you have specifically violated this section by discharging weapons or starting fires, they really cannot use this section because of an alleged harassment.

Q: Is there any law or rule that states a board member can or cannot serve as an officer of a club? We have three residents now on the board who are running the same club. I have stated repeatedly that this is a conflict of interest but I get no response. Previous board members had to recuse themselves from anything involving the clubs they were on. All clubs have to show a zero balance at the end of the year but this particular club had an event after the first of the year with paid entertainment. When I asked where the money came from I once again got no response.

A: No. There is no law. As a board, you are able to pass a rule pertaining to clubs as long as the rule is consistent with your governing documents. If the association’s funds are being used for the clubs’ events, the association has the right and the authority to have a full disclosure of the expenses. You can place these items for discussion at your next board meeting.

Q: Can you clarify the requirement for a bid submitted by a company. Are they required to give a detailed description of the proposed work? And how do we award a bid? Do you always award the bid to the lowest or can you select a better company even though it is not the lowest priced? I looked at Nevada Revised Statutes 116-31086 but it was not clear.

A: NRS 11t.31086 pertains to the bidding process. It starts by stating “if” an association solicits bids whenever possible the association should solicit three bids. If your association has less than 1,000 units, and if the cost of the service is less than 3 percent of your annual budget, you would not have to go through the bidding process. As an example, if your annual assessment was $100,000 then at 3 percent or $3,000 would be the maximum amount of money that can be used for an association project without going through the bidding process. If your association is 1,000 units or more, then the percentage is 1 percent. Bids are to be sealed and opened up at a board meeting where you would read aloud the bid.

There is no law as to how the bidding process is to be awarded. An association does not have to approve the lowest bid. It is prudent for the companies that have sent in bids for the association to invite them to discuss their proposal. Often in meeting with the vendors, a board may be more impressed with the servicing, even when that vendor may have a higher cost.

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

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