91°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Things HOA boards should consider during COVID reopening

There is a lot of confusion out there concerning COVID-19 reopening protocols and how it affects our homeowners associations. Communities across the valley are struggling with how best to address this situation. I have invited Las Vegas attorneys Michael T. Schulman, Gregory P. Kerr and David Stern to weigh in on this very important subject.

On May 3, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued his new directive (No. 45), essentially aligning the state mandates with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Two important things for community associations to keep in mind are that:

1. The mask mandate is not gone.

2. Counties and private businesses are still permitted to implement heightened restrictions if they so choose. The governor’s mandates are a floor, not a ceiling.

What the governor’s new directive actually means:

In clarifying some of the confusion regarding the scope of Directive 45, the governor did not entirely rescind the mask mandate. In fact, Directive 45 is clear that, as a general rule, masks are still required.

The directive does, however, state that in addition to the previous exemptions listed in Directive 24, further exemptions are provided for based on the current and future CDC guidelines.

Here’s the good news for associations and members:

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as the Johnson &Johnson vaccine), or are otherwise exempt, are permitted to resume activities without wearing a mask.

Best practices: What should community associations do?

In light of the immunity protections offered by Senate Bill 04, and with the governor’s latest directive, there are difficult burdens that a potential plaintiff would have to overcome before an association could be found liable for COVID-related claims, so long as associations adhere to local county guidelines (including capacity limits) and post signage where appropriate that reflect the CDC guidelines.

Associations are not expected to be the “COVID Police” and are not required — or expected — to confirm whether an individual was actually vaccinated.

However, it is important to inform members that masks are required for persons who have not been fully vaccinated and that the association requires members to adhere to the county and CDC guidelines. Use of signage and other means of communication with the membership (e.g., eblasts, websites, newsletters, etc.) informing them of the new mask requirements under Directive 45 is very important.

Finally, the Nevada Health Response is unequivocal that COVID is still a threat. Community associations have a duty to act in accordance with applicable directives and any local government requirements when it comes to opening access to common area facilities and amenities.

Despite the positive trends, associations need to remember that government restrictions still apply. Masks are still required unless exempted by vaccine or otherwise, social distancing (3 feet) still applies to those who have not been vaccinated and are not of the same household, and capacity limits are still restricted to 80 percent capacity in Clark County. Associations will have to balance the desires of the members with this duty while continuing to implement heightened cleaning services and maintain other COVID protocols.

The opinions expressed in this guest column are from the authors. As always, communities should contact their legal counsel.

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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Dogs over 40 pounds not welcome in community

You would need to check with the association’s legal counsel as to whether you should grandfather or whether you should start enforcing the restriction to all existing violators. Expect push back as not only is this a public relations issue but, face it, if you are a dog owner, your dog is part of your family.

Spouses cannot serve on HOA board at the same time

You would not be able to serve on the board at the same time your wife is serving, per Nevada Revised Statute 116.31034 (10)(a)(1).

SB 186 bad for Nevada HOAs; could cause lawsuits

Senate Bill 186 will expose Nevada community associations to civil lawsuits over foreclosures. It will also cause an increase in association assessments and create needless paper waste.

Homeowner thinks HOA board wants too much information

I was wondering if a homeowners association can make you tell them how many people live in the house, what kind of car you drive and the size and weight of your pets.

HOA raises funds for Make-A-Wish of Southern Nevada

During this COVID year, our Las Vegas communities have done good things for their residents. I have opened this column up to share those stories with my readers. We have this one for this week:

HOA changes color scheme and it’s a mess

For many associations, the original paint scheme is not available any more. The paint colors simply don’t exist and more “modern” colors have come to replace the older ones. Even if this is the case with your association, there should be some consistency of colors for the residents to prevent the “mixed-match mess-up.

SB 144 dies in committee; other bills could affect HOAs

Great news: Your emails and calls helped to kill Senate Bill 144. Please take the time to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee on SB 144 for listening to our concerns.

Law supports mobile home park caring for community cat

My understanding of the law is that the association cannot force a resident from caring for the feral cats or forcing the resident to remove the feral cats from the community. You can contact the local municipality to ascertain their interpretation of the law.

Proposed bill could cause financial crisis for HOAs

Are you ready for a major financial crisis for your homeowners association? Well, Senate Bill 144 will make the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic look like child’s play.

HOA pool restrictions expected to relax in May

I expect changes concerning HOA pools to be announced on May 1. I think restrictions will be modified, allowing more use of the facilities by homeowners.