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Barking dogs can create fines for homeowner

Q: I enjoy reading your article every Sunday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I now have a concern for you. I hope you can help me.

My new neighbors’ dogs (pit bulls) bark every time we venture in our backyard (since September 2016). My neighbor listens to my concerns about the habitual barking but continues to allow his dogs free access out a doggie door.

My question for you is how effective are HOAs in regards to barking dog complaints? Our HOA does have rules and regulations on barking dogs. In your opinion and expertise do HOAs have a good track record in rectifying this kind of problem? Or, should I just bypass them and contact my local animal control agency?

I have documented all barking with date, time, duration along with cellphone video/audio. Any information that you can pass along to me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much.

A: The association has the authority to assess fines upon violators. Fining a homeowner does not necessarily equate to compliance. In your case, you need to contact animal control as there are county ordinances pertaining to barking dogs.

Unfortunately, animal control will not accept complaints submitted to them by the association as they only will process first-hand complaints from the homeowners who are being impacted by the dogs.

Both the violation process by the association and the complaint process by animal control are not quick fixes. You should continue to document the barking for both the association and animal control.

Q: I have two neighbors who have planted trees on their backyard slopes. One has planted a row of mesquite trees with one large palm tree. The other neighbor has planted a row of palm trees. Both yards infringe upon my view.

Our covenant, conditions and restrictions state that “future additions or changes to previously approved landscape plans must be submitted to the Design Review Committee for approval prior to installation. Of primary concern are additions of trees and their location.”

The CC&Rs also state: “In all landscape plan submittals, the Design Review Committee will review proposed use of palm trees with regard and location to minimize their effect of views of others in the neighborhood.”

In addition, the architectural standards and procedures state: “Any group or collection of more than one plant and/or tree planted together in such a way that infringes upon or blocks another homeowner’s view is not allowed.”

To my knowledge, neither of these two neighbors submitted their landscape plans to the Design Review Committee.

I and my adjacent neighbor have written letters to board of directors requesting the trees be removed.

Apparently, the board of directors took no action because nothing has been done with the trees in either neighbor’s yard.

The mesquite trees can be maintained such that they would not infringe upon my view but the palm trees cannot be trimmed to reinstate my view.

In my opinion, the only option for the palm trees would be to have them removed.

Since the mesquite trees are planted in a row in violation of the architectural standards and procedures, I feel they should also be removed.

Can anything be done to force the board to take action to have the trees removed such as contact the ombudsman or as a last resort take the board of directors to court?

A: You need to confirm the association is not taking any action against your neighbor. This is not any “easy” fix for the association and the homeowner could be resisting the results of a violation hearing decision.

In a similar situation that one of my boards encountered, it was months before the homeowner removed his palm trees. The association had to obtain legal counsel in enforcing its CC&Rs and architectural guidelines.

This is one of those gray areas for the ombudsman office as to requiring the association to take action.

You may have to engage the services of an attorney to move forward his complaint.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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