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Agencies call for stay on some HOA towing

Dear readers: With everything going on with the COVID-19 crisis, our homeowners associations need all the help they can get. We are all looking to our state agencies for direction and guidance during these troubling times. Here is an announcement from state Real Estate Ombudsman Charvez L Foger on towing in communities.

“It has been brought to my attention that some homeowners associations have been overzealous in their towing operations during this difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tow operators have been deemed an essential business and have been instructed to limit their operations to services that are in fact essential (i.e., towing a vehicle which is blocking a fire lane, fire hydrant or blocking a space designated for the handicapped). I am asking associations to do the same by limiting their towing requests/activities to those that are essential as described above. During this unprecedented time, many Nevadans are currently and/or will be struggling to make ends meet. The added cost and inconvenience of having their vehicle towed could be especially detrimental.

“Additionally, households in your community may have more residents than usual, as families are hunkering down together in an effort to comply with guidance from the governor’s office. Associations must be extra diligent in determining whether a violation is being caused because of a household’s attempt to comply with social distancing guidelines (i.e., additional vehicles parked in the driveway/on the street). In these cases, I am asking associations to implement a stay on enforcing these types of violations whether through towing (Nevada Revised Statute 116.3102[1][t]) or through fines (NRS 116.31031).

“As Nevadans, we must continue to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Now is the time for patience, compassion and understanding as we come together as a community to ensure our collective health, safety and well-being is maintained.”

Recently, Nevada Transportation Authority Chair Dawn Gibbons issued a notice to all statewide tow car carriers that tow for residential complexes.

The letter points out that there have been complaints to the governor’s office of “overzealous enforcement of parking regulations at residential complexes leading to burdensome costs for citizens attempting to live under the virus mandates.”

The notice reminded them that Gov. Steve Sisolak has deemed motor carriers essential businesses and they may continue to operate. It warns, however, that operators “should make every attempt during these times to limit services to those that are in fact essential.”

Gibbons said tow car carriers that tow for residential complexes under NRS 706.4477 may tow from a complex “only if the vehicle is blocking a fire hydrant, fire lane or parking space designated for the handicapped; or posing an imminent threat of causing a substantial adverse effect on the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the residential complex, which may include, without limitation, if the vehicle is parked in a space that is clearly marked for a specific resident or the use of a specific unit in the residential complex, in accordance with NRS 702.4477(s)(b)(4).”

The notification ended with this warning:

“I believe it is preferable that the authority and the tow carriers work together on this issue as regulators and the regulated and avoid the need for the governor or his staff to take more definite action.”

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager (CPM) 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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